Essex batsman Alastair Cook has been named the new Test captain of the England cricket team.

Cook replaces Andrew Strauss who retires from professional cricket with immediate effect.

The former pupil at Bedford school said he was immensely proud to be named his country's new captain.

In a statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board, Cook said:

I’m very excited by this new challenge, it is a huge honour to be appointed Test captain and am very much looking forward to captaining the side in India this winter and beyond but my immediate focus is on this current NatWest one day series. Once the series is over I will turn my attention to the Test captaincy and building on the work Andrew has started.

Cook will also continue to lead the one day side.

The 27-year-old paid tribute to his predecessor who said England's recent success was largely due to the work of the South African-born Middlesex player.

Andrew’s contribution to England cricket in recent years is evident to everyone who follows the sport but only those of us who have been lucky enough to share a dressing room with him are fully aware of his immense contribution to our success. He has been a fantastic captain, has led from the front for three and a half years and is a true ambassador for the game. To have played 100 Tests for your country is a phenomenal achievement and I want to congratulate him on a superb career. I know this can’t have been an easy decision for him and everyone in the dressing room will be sad to see him go.

Strauss, 35, retires after 14 years in the professional game.

“I am extremely proud of everything I have achieved as a cricketer, and I have found myself very fortunate to play in an era when some of English cricket's greatest moments have occurred. I have loved every minute of it. All that remains is for me to wish Andy, Alastair and the rest of the team the very best for the coming months. I will be an interested spectator.”

David Collier, ECB Chief Executive, commented: “I would like to congratulate Alastair on becoming Test captain. He has shown he has the traits needed to be a successful captain and has demonstrated his leadership capabilities as one day captain over the last 16 months. On behalf of the ECB I would like to wish Alastair and Andy Flower all the very best for the exciting challenges that lie ahead.”

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