Cook: Being skipper is tiring, but I'm learning

England

England captain Alastair Cook enjoys leading the side, but says it can be rather draining and has developed methods to cope with the pressures of being an Ashes-winning skipper under the glare of media lights.

England captain Alastair Cook enjoys leading the side, but says it can be rather draining and has developed methods to cope with the pressures of being an Ashes-winning skipper under the glare of media lights.

Cook took over as skipper when Andrew Strauss retired in mid-2012, and since then has achieved a series win in India and a three-nil Ashes victory, as well as keeping his batting on the rise.

But leading a diverse dressing room is not without its pressures, especially in the age of social media and outside influences, and Cook has had to work on finding ways to cope with the demands on and off the field.

Cook told The Telegraph: "You do find it more tiring. You get tested every single day and you don't quite know where you'll be tested from. Eventually that does wear at you. It's how you manage that, and how you try to put in place things that can help you."

Cook is famously one of the calmer skippers on the circuit, and not an overly emotional batsman either, but he has revealed that behind the scenes he's less stoic than he seems, and tends to be a bit gentler with his colleagues than one may think.

The Essex man said of his velvet glove captaincy style: "The guys who have got to know me would say that I tend to be pretty caring. I am certainly not a shouter, not a screamer.

"As a captain, Straussy was an outstanding bloke, and it's been quite hard to follow in his footsteps because of how respected he was. But I'd say we're slightly different in the way we handle the dressing room, perhaps because I'm slightly younger."

In the two month break between Ashes tours, given Cook did not play in the ODIs, he discussed his preferred relaxation methods, which included grouse hunting, spending time on his wife Alice's farm, and visiting sheep auctions.

He continued: "I do talk about cricket in the pub. But I'm very lucky to have the environment I've got. It has helped me to escape the bubble of international cricket. When I had my rest during the one-dayers I didn't go on holiday.

"For me, the holiday has been sleeping in my own bed for two months, rather than sitting in a hotel room. I don't mind the beach, but I've been working on the farm, been shooting, been up north buying sheep.

"It's amazing, even in this modern world they still all run through a pen and it's just an auction. I went up to Kirkby Stephen, to Bentham. As to whether I'm any good at picking them, you'd have to ask Alice or Alice's dad, but I'd back myself.

"It's not like cricket where all the players want the best bat. Some farms will take a small lamb and run it to make money later on. Some will say I want the best sheep now. We do a bit of both."

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