Alastair Cook, who has stepped down from the England captaincy, has revealed that he felt "hung out to dry” by the ECB in the Kevin Pietersen issue three years ago. Cook also believes that England have stagnated as a team over the recent past and need a new voice in the dressing room.
Speaking for the first time to Sky Sports since his resignation from the captaincy that he held for four and a half years, Cook revealed that he felt the Pietersen issue was handled badly by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
“It was obviously a big part of my captaincy,” he told Sky Sports. “I felt like it wasn’t handled particularly well by the ECB. I know I was the lightning rod for it, every person thought it was my decision. I felt I bore the brunt of that, unfairly in my personal opinion.
“As much power as you get as England captain, you don’t have the ultimate decision on that sort of thing. Yes, I was part of the decision-making, as six or seven other people were. I didn’t actually have that final trigger and I felt as if I was the only person who made that decision.
“I felt a little bit let down by the ECB by that one period, where they kind of let me out to dry a little bit. But that’s all gone now. It’s part and parcel of the challenge of being a captain. I can’t say now I have any regrets. I’ve tried, whether I’ve got it right or wrong, to do what was the best for English cricket at that time,” he said.
Cook's tenure took him to the record of most matches at England's helm by anyone and featured two home Ashes victories and wins in India in 2012 and South Africa last year. However, the record would be slightly marred by the 4-0 thumping in India last month.
Cook, who would look to get back to what he does best - scoring runs at the top, pledged to support his successor- most likely Joe Root who has been groomed for the exact role for some time.
“It was an easy decision because I felt, unfortunately, that I was done,” said Cook.
“Getting on that plane, leaving India, if I was brutally honest, I would have been very surprised if I captained again.
“It’s a job you need 100% commitment to, to drive the team forward at all times. But looking in the mirror at the end of India, I felt I couldn’t. It might have been 95% but that’s not good enough. The last year we played some good cricket but we lost eight Test matches.
The batsman, who will now look to aim for Sachin Tendulkar's all-time Test runs record, believes that England
“We have stagnated, if we are being brutally honest, as a team. There is a lot of work that needed to be done I felt and I just didn’t have that energy to do that.
“After leading the team for four and a half years it’s time to hear a new voice.”
Cook, though, took the responsibility on his shoulders when asked if he was the reason for the slump saying, “One hundred percent. That’s part of the parcel of being captain. You are responsible. With the coaches – it’s not a one-man thing – but ultimately the captain is part of that. The dressing room has been fantastic, the support of the players has been brilliant, it’s just I think that a new voice could help.”