Root primed after Cook steps down as captain
Alastair Cook's resignation as England Test captain puts Joe Root centre stage as by far his most likely successor, but there will be no immediate confirmation of his appointment.
England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss paid tribute to Cook, the man who replaced him as captain in 2012 and has gone on to skipper the team in a national record 59 Tests.
Cook informed ECB chairman Colin Graves and his team-mates of his decision to resign in a round of phone calls on Sunday, and Strauss has confirmed the intention is that a new leader will be known before England leave for their one-day tour of West Indies in two weeks'.
Cook received many plaudits after an up-and-down four-year tenure which included two Ashes series wins, a vexed whitewash defeat in Australia - leading to the departure of both coach Andy Flower and batsman Kevin Pietersen - and notable successes in South Africa last winter and India on his maiden tour as permanent captain in 2012.
It has come to an end, however, after a 4-0 drubbing back in India before Christmas.
Cook took almost eight weeks to reflect before his resignation was announced, and Strauss was foremost among those voicing praise for his former team-mate.
"He's led the team with drive, with determination, with a huge amount of passion," he stated. "You only have to speak to the people who played under him to realise what an impact he's had on them."
Meanwhile, Isobel Joyce is hoping Ireland can overcome the challenge of Zimbabwe and the heat of Colombo today as the 'girls in green' open their Women's World Cup qualifying campaign with a must-win encounter.