Cook gets acquainted to life back in England’s ranks

He needs only one more to take his 300th in England.

Alastair Cook insists he has no regrets after giving up the England captaincy, but admitted there were just a couple of moments during the Lord’s Test when he felt a pang for a special job he knows he’ll “never do again”.

Root led England to a 211-run win over South Africa at Lord’s in his first Test match as captain since succeeding Cook, who resigned in February after a record 59 Tests in charge. “But that probably won’t be the first of mine he breaks”. “But the thought of playing here at Trent Bridge on Friday in front of a full house – it’s not going to be around forever, so that’s what motivates me”. He will get better and better and those messages will become clearer and clearer. “He’s still very new to captaincy in any kind of cricket”.

“I don’t have to make those decisions any more”.

“Nothing can prepare you for it”, said Cook of being England captain.

Following a heartening debut victory over South Africa for the new captain at Lord’s, Cook continues to be confident he and Root will work successfully together – and that the Yorkshireman will not have to radically change the chirpy personality so notable since his emergence as an global batsman.

“They’ll be hurting from the first test but they’re a quality side”, Cook said. You don’t take offence if he doesn’t do them. That was when I realised that life was different. So not only did I have Jimmy gloating at me but Ben Stokes telling me where to move.

“The shock was when Ben Stokes told me to move fielding positions”, said Cook. “The only bit was seeing Rooty walk down the stairs in his blazer and working out you will never do that again”. I have done my bit. I gave everything to the role and I move on from it. Let’s get behind Joe. “He could not have done more in that first game”.

Gray-Nicolls, Cook’s bat sponsor, this week posted a Tweet with the hashtag #CatchinSachin. Cook said. “That is a long way off”. “You just do not know what happens in sport”. The target hasn’t really changed for me.

“As soon as I got on that plane to go on Essex’s pre-season tour, the challenge of scoring runs and mucking in with the lads made sure any thoughts about the captaincy were quickly forgotten. But he still has that glint and smile in his eye, so I don’t see it changing”.

For his part, Cook marked his return to the ranks after five years as captain with a valuable 69 in the second innings at Lord’s.

The England tail wagged in both innings at Lord’s, with Stuart Broad’s first half-century in three years bolstering their initial total before Mark Wood put on 45 for the ninth wicket on the fourth morning with Jonny Bairstow, thrashing a handy 28 to stem a collapse.

The first was perhaps the most predictable, when he had to watch Root walk out to toss up at the start of the Investec series and simply wait to find out whether he would be on his way to the middle to bat or field soon afterwards. More so given that Chris Woakes and Jake Ball, who have been out injured, were back around the squad with England yesterday. But then you see all the interviews after and think “it’s alright, I can go and get my pads on”. For once it might not be my body that’s letting me down, it will be form.