Alastair Cook: Thank you!
A sad day. His captaincy may have divided opinion to some. Was he too conservative? Should there have been a fielder here or there? Was he at times too stubborn?
I've argued answers to each of these questions many times. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a big Alastair Cook fan. Yes, I believe he should have carried on, and as I write this I'm gutted but I respect his decision and once again Cooky has done what he believes is right for English cricket. And that is something I believe his detractors often forget - Alastair Cook has always done what he believes is right for English cricket. He hasn't a selfish bone in his body.
I have followed England on tour for 15 years and I can honestly say under Cook's captaincy I have enjoyed many happy memories. The wins away in India and South Africa, two Ashes wins, a Champions Trophy final, the list goes on. People also forget the transitional period he had to lead through. He had to contend with the retirements of Strauss, Swann, Prior not to mention the KP fiasco. He went through a period of ridiculous abuse from certain people but he always continued to lead with dignity.
One of my favourite memories of his captaincy though was the 2015 Ashes. Michael Clarke arrived with an in-form Australia side and people were lauding his captaincy - the best captain in the world. Cooky completely out captained him.
He was also someone who always had time for supporters. There was rarely a post Test match interview when he didn't acknowledge the fans on tour.
I had the good fortune to meet Cooky at an event at the Oval in 2015, he spent a good 20/30 minutes with us, showing genuine interest in the Addis and he was truly appreciative for all of our support.
For me he ticked the boxes of what you want from a leader both on and off the pitch.
Cooky - thank you for everything and without the strains of captaincy I can't wait to see you break even more records with the bat.