Alastair Cook found himself agreeing Yorkshire’s Joe Root will be ready to succeed him as captain if the time comes for him to step aside soon following England’s swift descent to series defeat against India.
It took England only 33 minutes to go very quietly on the final morning – apart from an unseemly exchange in the final moments between their No 11 James Anderson and match-winning off-spinner Ravi Ashwin – to an innings-and-36-run defeat at the Wankhede Stadium, which confirmed series success for the hosts, 3-0 with a Test to spare.
England lost their last six wickets for just 15 runs, collapsing to 195 all out to become only the third team in Test history to lose by an innings after making 400 first time round.
Cook reflected on “missed opportunities” – to stop Virat Kohli posting a career-best 235 and No 9 Jayant Yadav a maiden century in a record stand with his captain – although England collectively had no answer either to the brilliant Ashwin, whose 6-55 gave him match figures of 12-127 and took his series aggregate to 27 wickets.
It all adds up to five defeats in England’s last seven Tests, with the unwelcome prospect of a record-equalling eighth of the year in Chennai still to come.
Cook faced an inevitable barrage of post-match inquiries as to whether he intends to carry on as captain, and admitted even he does occasionally have doubts.
“Of course you have questions. Naturally you look at stuff,” said Cook, who will be 32 on Christmas Day, and around then expects to be keeping his pre-series promise to review the campaign – including his leadership duties – with England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss.
“I will sit down with Straussy at the end of the year – like we have made the pact to do – to talk honestly and openly,” he said.
“My position has not changed (whether) we won this game or lost this game.”
Advocates for change have one obvious alternative, in 25-year-old vice-captain Root.
“I think Joe Root is ready to captain England,” Cook said. “Nothing can prepare you for it. (But) he is ready because he is a clued-up guy who has the respect of everyone in the changing room.”