India v England: Geoffrey Boycott feels Alastair Cook should step down as captain

Alastair Cook and Joe Root
Root (right) has been Cook's Test vice-captain since 2015, but is yet to lead England in a competitive game

Ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott feels Alastair Cook should step down as Test captain to give his likely successor Joe Root time to settle in before the 2017-18 Ashes in Australia.

Cook says he will "go home and do some thinking" before deciding his future after the 4-0 series defeat by India.

But Boycott said: "If we are to have a new captain, he needs all seven Tests to get his feet under the table.

"We don't want Alastair giving it up after three or four Tests."

Before the series, Cook hinted that he could step down as skipper after the India tour, and last week - with the series lost - the Essex left-hander admitted vice-captain Root was "ready" to succeed him.

"This hasn't just happened. It must have been on his mind for some time," Boycott said.

"After we've lost the series, he says Joe Root is ready for captaincy, and nobody forced that out of him.

"He's a top professional and a top batsman," added Boycott. "But I don't think it's helpful to him or the team or English cricket if he's in two minds what to do.

"Whoever captains in England this summer has seven Tests [against South Africa and West Indies] before the biggest series of all in the Ashes.

"If it is going to be Root - which it will be - he needs seven Test matches to put his stamp on it. Players need to get with his style."

Four years after he replaced Andrew Strauss - now England's director of cricket - as captain, Cook is facing increased pressure to return to the ranks, although his place as opening batsman is secure for now.

"It's got to be a decision I've used a bit of time to make," Cook told BBC Test Match Special.

"If you sit here now after the nine weeks we've had you might make the wrong call. I'm going to give myself a bit of time to think about it and try and make the right decision."

Assistant coach Paul Farbrace added: "Probably he will need a few days but Cooky will do what is right for the England team as he always has done.

"We hope he continues, but ultimately it is his decision."

Is it too early for Root?

Root, who made his Test debut in India in 2012 and is now seen as England's best batsman, will be 26 on 30 December, but Boycott does not feel his fellow Yorkshireman's youth should count against him.

"There's many a player who got the captaincy when he was young - Ted Dexter, Peter May. Some people thrive on it," he said.

"Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain weren't county captains, and they did well. People either rise to the challenge or they don't.

"But Strauss has to make a decision, that's what he's paid for. What about the chairman Colin Graves, and the chief executive? They run the business, but the performance out here has been pathetic.

"England pay the coaches and the director of cricket fortunes, but nothing will happen. They will beat people in England on seaming pitches and everything in the garden will be rosy."

England's Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow was the fourth England batsman to fall in Chennai

Another batting collapse frustrates Boycott

Boycott was also characteristically scathing of England's batting performance after they lost their first four wickets for 26 runs in Chennai, and their last six for 15.

"We gave it away with awful cricket," he fumed. "The worst thing is, we've seen this before - like dominoes going down, you push one and they all go down.

"They got to lunch doing everything they needed to do, but then Cook poked one to short leg that was missing leg stump, and Keaton Jennings pushed one back and was caught and bowled.

"Root was sweeping off the stumps which is dangerous these days with DRS. Poor shot, poor thinking. I love Jonny dearly but I can't excuse the terrible shot he played, Ben Stokes tried to push it to mid-wicket, and Moeen Ali was the worst of the lot - tried to slog it for six and gets out. Atrocious.

"I don't blame people like Dawson, Rashid, Broad and Ball - it's not the tail-enders' job."

How India and England's spinners compared
R Ashwin (Ind)52830.252.75
RA Jadeja (Ind)52625.842.31
A Rashid (Eng)52337.433.70
M Ali (Eng)51064.903.44
J Yadav (Ind)3929.553.26
A Mishra (Ind)2555.003.62
Z Ansari (Eng)2354.333.79
J Root (Eng)5228.503.56
L Dawson (Eng)1264.503.00
K Nair (Ind)30-4.00
G Batty (Eng)10-3.36

'We've got to find some spinners'

"Sometimes you have to hold your hands up. India were better man for man, and we're always going to find playing in these conditions the hardest, and India punished us heavily for our dropped catches," Cook conceded.

"You need some experience on the batting side, you need to play a few times in these conditions to understand what happens and get the flow of the game. When we won here in 2012 we'd had a pretty tough tour to the UAE and we learned a lot from that.

"Unfortunately, and this is with no disrespect, our guys are not at the same level as Ravichandran Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja and that's the bottom line. We've got to find some spinners if we want to compete here.

"It's not long ago that we had Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, but Moeen Ali has taken huge strides. When he first started playing for us, he was a batter who bowled a bit of part-time off spin, but he's had a huge growth in terms of his bowling.

"For Adil Rashid, a guy not sure about his place in Test cricket, 20-odd wickets in India is a good effort but you need to be able to bowl with control, you can't go at three-and-a-half or four runs an over consistently because the game goes away from you very quickly."

Listen to more cricket debate on the Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show on BBC Radio 5 live at 20:30 GMT on Tuesday.

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