GRAHAM Napier says Alastair Cook has all the right attributes to be a successful Test captain.
The Essex all-rounder congratulated his team-mate on his appointment to the full England captaincy while waiting for the rain to stop at their Championship match at Derbyshire’s County Ground yesterday.
Cook, 27, was handed the honour after former captain Andrew Strauss retired from all forms of cricket yesterday.
Cook, from Wickham Bishops and a former member of Maldon Cricket Club, was made England’s One-Day captain in 2011, again when Strauss resigned from the role.
Napier, 32, has known Cook since he arrived at the Essex Academy as a teenager and watched his progression from county to international player.
Cook made his first-class debut for Essex at the age of 18 at the end of the 2003 season against Nottinghamshire. He follows in the footsteps of the likes of former Essex players Nasser Hussain and Graham Gooch, who have also led England.
Napier said: “It’s a great achievement for Alastair.
“I remember when he first arrived in the Essex dressing room as a 15-year-old and then a few years later he had shot up.
“He is very level-headed and grounded – and that is a key component for an England captain these days.
“And you need to be grounded when you are making decisions – not only for yourself but for the rest of the team as well.
“It’s been a natural progression for Alastair from the captaincy of the one-day side.
“It’s also great for Essex Cricket to have produced another captain for England.
“It’s a brilliant thing for everyone at the club.”
Cook has been a regular member of the England set up since making his debut for the side in 2006 at the age of 21.
He is the only Englishman to have made seven Test centuries before the age of 23.
While playing for England, Cook does not have a great amount of time to spend at Essex CCC’s Ford County Ground.
However, Napier said: “We don’t see him that much down at Essex these days with his England commitments.
“But when he is here it’s great for the team to have him about.
“The younger players benefit from the experience he has and some of the seniors players as well.”