ENGLAND supporters can expect to discover next week the identity of Alastair Cook's successor as Test captain.
Joe Root, who has been Cook's vice-captain since the start of the 2015 summer, appears the only logical new incumbent — despite the England and Wales Cricket Board's insistence on a selection process first.
The published intention is that what appears to be a formality will be concluded before England depart for their short one-day international tour of West Indies on February 22, and it is understood the most likely timetable will take in an official announcement by the end of next week at the latest.
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Cook did not stray too far from the party line, by mentioning Root and others in honourable dispatches on the subject of who will replace him, during his valedictory round of press conferences and interviews at Lord's on Tuesday as departing captain.
In them, the 32-year-old record runscorer explained his reasons for deciding to resign after his unrivalled 59 Tests in charge and his hopes for his and England's future — under whichever new captain is chosen — as well as revisiting the obligatory topic of Kevin Pietersen's controversial axing from his adopted country's plans three years ago.
Cook made it clear he regretted the manner in which Pietersen was dispatched, and its implications for him too at a time when he was short of runs and was viewed as public enemy number one by a proportion of England's cricket followers.
"We all have regrets over how it was handled," Cook told Sky Sports.
"I was part of that decision. I wasn't the be-all and end-all of it, but that's the responsibility you have as England captain.
"The fall-out of it wasn't great for English cricket. We were all over the headlines for the wrong reasons."
He added: "I felt I was the only person who made the decision. I felt a little bit let down by the ECB in that one period where they left me out to dry a little bit."
Cook had the opportunity to talk too about his happier times in an up-and-down four-year tenure which contained two Ashes victories, memorable successes in India in 2012 and South Africa last year — as well as the 5-0 whitewash defeat in Australia which preceded Pietersen's exit and, most recently, the 4-0 trouncing on England's return to India late last year.
It was that experience which left Cook to conclude he no longer had the reserves required for his all-consuming role.
"We've kind of stagnated if we are being brutally honest," he said.
"There is a lot of work to be done, and I felt I just didn't have that energy to do it.
"The dressing room has been fantastic; the support of the players has been brilliant — it's just, I think, that hearing a new voice [as captain] could help."