The highs and lows of Alastair Cook's England captaincy - and who might replace him?

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Alastair Cook has cast some doubt over his future as England Test captain, suggesting it is possible he could leave the role at the end of the upcoming series against India.

Here, we take a look at the highs and lows of Cook's time as captain, along with the contenders to replace him when the 31-year-old does choose to walk away from the role.

Highs

England captain Alastair Cook - (Tim Goode/PA)
(Tim Goode/PA)

Ashes wins

Cook has led England to two Ashes series wins on home soil, 3-0 in 2013 and 3-2 in 2015 when victory was secured with an innings win at Trent Bridge in little more than two days.

Victory in India

England go into their upcoming series as underdogs but they, and Cook, will have fond memories of 2012/13. He made scores of 176, 122 and 190 in the four-Test series as England won 2-1, their first series win in India for 28 years.

Double in Abu Dhabi

Cook showed England it was, after all, possible to bat in the spin-friendly conditions of the United Arab Emirates as he grafted his way to 263 against Pakistan last October - his highest score as captain, and the longest ever innings by an England captain.

Lows

England captain Alastair Cook - (AM Ahad/AP)
(AM Ahad/AP)

Ashes whitewash

Cook was also in charge for England's 5-0 defeat Down Under in the winter of 2013/14. Furthermore, his average against Australia as captain is a mere 29.41 with his top score in that span, 96, coming in a 405-run defeat at Lord's in 2015.

Defeat in UAE

Despite Cook's efforts, England suffered a 2-1 series defeat in Pakistan's adopted 'home' territory last winter. It may have been more competitive than 2012´s humiliation but a final-day collapse for 156 sealed the deal, though Cook resisted with 63 before being the ninth man dismissed.

Criticism

Cook has faced questions over the perceived negativity of his captaincy style, with Australia spinner-turned-pundit Shane Warne particularly vocal.

His form was also questioned during a run of just two half-centuries in eight Tests in 2013 and 2014, until he bounced back with scores of 95 and 70 not out against India in Southampton.

Potential replacements

But who could replace England's captain of four years? There are contenders, but are any of them capable captains?

Joe Root

England captain Alastair Cook - (John Walton/EMPICS Sport)
(John Walton/EMPICS Sport)

The 25-year-old is Cook's vice-captain and the clear favourite to replace him when the skipper does decide to end his captaincy. Joe Root has leadership experience with Yorkshire and has the advantage of being one of few batsmen certain of his place.

If he did get the job after the India series, Root would face a busy 2017, headlined by a Test series against South Africa and then the Ashes, while also playing in all three formats - including a Champions Trophy at home.

Ben Stokes

England's Ben Stokes - (AM Ahad/AP)
(AM Ahad/AP)

In a field that is a distant second to Root, the next best bet is Ben Stokes. Just whether England would be willing to burden his emboldened spirit with the captaincy, while also adding to his already significant workload as an all-rounder, is up for debate.

Andrew Flintoff's Test captaincy would act as a cautionary tale against the move.

Stuart Broad

England's Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook - (AM Ahad/AP)
(AM Ahad/AP)

The right-armer has Test experience - he will play his 100th match in Rajkot - and has led England before in the Twenty20 arena.

He has the advantage of being able to focus his attention on Test cricket as he has increasingly become squeezed out of international limited-overs cricket, prompting him to take up a Big Bash deal this winter.