NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Cook’s first tour in charge saw the tourists, together with a reintegrated Kevin Pietersen following the South Africa text message debacle earlier that year, shock MS Dhoni’s India in their own back yard – England’s first victory there in 28 years. The left-hander led from the front, notching 562 runs in four Tests.
ASHES HOPES GO UP IN SMOKE
England and Cook’s grip on the Ashes won in home conditions in 2013 was short-lived as a Mitchell Johnson-inspired Australia humiliated the wilting tourists, whitewashing them 5-0. Jonathan Trott returned home early in the series, while Graeme Swann retired mid-tour as the team which had enjoyed great success began to disintegrate.
COOK’S ANNUS HORRIBILIS
Cook played an influential role in the ending of Kevin Pietersen’s international career in February 2014 as the fallout from the harrowing Ashes series continued. The Pietersen affair would dog his captaincy and intensify calls to resign in some quarters. On the field, there was little respite as England began their summer with defeat to Sri Lanka amid criticism of Cook for an unimaginative style of captaincy.
Embattled perhaps, but Ashes redemption was just around the corner. Under new head coach Trevor Bayliss, England adopted a brand of exciting cricket and celebrated an unexpected Ashes win, demolishing Australia at Trent Bridge to regain the urn and ease the pain of that 5-0 defeat.
END OF THE ROAD
The year began with England beating South Africa, who were then the No1-ranked side in the world. But England drifted as 2016 progressed, losing a total of eight Test matches – their worst 12 months since 1993. The final straw for Cook was a 4-0 defeat in India, after which he admitted to having doubts about his future.