FORMER Essex and England cricketer Derek Pringle has admitted he feels Alastair Cook should step down as England’s Test captain.

England players and management have backed the Essex batsman to continue as skipper.

But after the 4-0 Test series defeat in India last month, and Cook admitting he is looking forward to concentrating on his batting rather than the captaincy, speculation on Cook’s future continues.

Pringle, who featured in 30 Test matches for England, believes the time is right for Cook to leave the role.

“I think he should step down,” said Pringle, 58.

“I was all for him staying on as captain a couple of years ago when there were a lot of people calling for his head.

“I think he has done a decent job and done the best he can. He has been captain for 59 Tests now and it takes its toll.”

Cook, 32, is due to meet the ECB’s managing director Andrew Strauss for a post-series debrief in the coming days.

Although there have been rumours that Cook will offer his resignation as England’s Test captain during the meeting with his long-time partner at the top of the batting order, there is no Test cricket until July and so the skipper could give himself more time to make a decision on his future.

Pringle added: “In India he looked out of ideas and a bit hacked off to be honest.

“If I was Andrew Strauss and Cook does not step down, I would bring someone else in anyway.”

Cook currently holds the record for the most runs scored by an England batsman in Test matches, with 11,057 runs.

The Essex man has also registered the most centuries scored by an England skipper. Cook surpassed ex-Essex batsman Graham Gooch’s record of 11 last year.

Cook has led the England Test side since replacing Kevin Pietersen in 2009.

The skipper has won 24 of the 59 Test matches where he has been in charge.

Joe Root, who has notched 11 centuries in 54 Test matches, is the favourite to replace Cook should he step down.

The 26-year-old was named England’s Test Cricketer of the Year in 2015 and is currently ranked third in ICC’s list of top ten Test batsmen.

Pringle thinks Root is the right man for the job.

Pringle admitted: “I remember sitting with Nasser Hussain, who was England captain at the time, in Sri Lanka and he said when you’re captain, it consumes your whole life.

“All of the time you are thinking about cricket and the team.

“I think that Joe Root is the only option. I think he would be pretty good.

“It’s difficult to get captaincy experience now but he has captained Yorkshire before so I think he is the only option for England.”