Cook comfortable after putting aside captaincy doubts


Alastair Cook says he finally feels comfortable as England's Test captain, after considering his future in the role during 2015.

Although Cook is his country's leading run-scorer in the five-day game, he has certainly not had the smoothest of rides since succeeding Andrew Strauss as Test skipper in August 2012.

A 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia, the drawn-out saga over Kevin Pietersen's international exile and Cook's own sacking as one-day captain prior to the 2015 Cricket World Cup have all represented challenging moments for the opener.

Cook felt last year's home Ashes series, which England won 3-2 to regain the famous little urn, could well prove his last at the helm.

However, the prospect of overseeing the progress of a young, improving side - victors in South Africa in their most recent Test series - appears to have reinvigorated the 31-year-old.

"I thought I was going to step down as captain after the Ashes, whether we won or lost," Cook told the Daily Mail.

"But the way this side had gone, it didn't feel like the right time. What's motivating me at the moment is not just the runs, but pushing the side forward.

"I finally feel comfortable in the role, and I've had enough ups and downs along the way to appreciate the good times and the bad. I felt for so long that I was trying to prove people wrong. They were always having these big doubts about me as a captain.

"But we've won some big series, and people have got off my back. It allowed me to go out and captain, rather than worry about external things as well."

Under Strauss, Cook was part of an England team that topped the ICC Test rankings and claimed a famous 3-1 Ashes win over Australia in 2010-11.

However, he believes the current crop of players - highlighted by the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes - provide a more entertaining spectacle.

"We became the best side in the world by being really methodical, very insular, and we ground opposition down," Cook added. "We played to our strengths hugely. We became a very efficient side who didn't have many bad days.

"What is so different about this side is that we can have a bad day, then turn it around the next. That's what makes it so exciting. That's why I think everyone enjoys watching this side play, just as they appreciated how good the other side was - to win three matches by an innings in Australia was extraordinary.

"But this side is definitely more exciting to watch. There's always been the talent there, but a few guys have matured, and they have the freedom they can play that way."