It was there not in such stock soundbites about being “sorely missed” and “we wish him well” but shining from affectionate tributes to him as a person: the references to ‘Skip’ and ‘Chef’ and to an all-round good bloke.
It is this affection which should, all things being equal, enable him to fulfil his stated intention of slotting seamlessly back into the dressing room as a batsman this summer.
And yet for all that it reflects credit on Cook as a human being, for personal relationships maintained and strengthened during his four years in charge of the team, it also says much about Cook as captain and leader.
It says that being the leader of the Test team was never something which sat comfortably on his shoulders.
There is something admirable if not heroic about a performer who needs to be dragged away from his true vocation by wild horses like James Brown creaking through his song and dance routine into his 70s.
In Cook’s case there has been no need for horses. He has been dragged from the England captaincy by a couple of sheep.
Alastair Cook had a good relationship with everybody in the England camp
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England headed to Sydney with the 2010-11 Ashes in the bag but a series win was at stake. Hundreds from Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Matt Prior set up a total of 644 before the seamers forced the tourists to an innings win
Andrew Flintoff was booted into touch for not being very good at it but Michael Vaughan, Andrew Strauss, Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton were spent when they quit – the first three finished off by Graeme Smith’s South Africa. Nothing left in the locker and unable to raise a bat again.
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Cook’s decision leaves him with every chance of doing precisely that, adding to to his 30 Test centuries and his 140 Tests, starting this summer against South Africa and West Indies and then against Australia in the winter.
In the meantime he can return to farming the sheep and lambs at his father-in-law’s farm.
If he returns refreshed in the summer to help Root through the early stages of what everyone expects will be his chance at the England captaincy and then bookend his career with victory in Australia everyone will be happy.
If Cook always seemed a reluctant captain, he will nevertheless go down as a successful one.
His tenure – the longest of any England captain at 59 Tests – brought 24 wins, two home Ashes series in 2013 and 2015 and a first series win in India in his first tour as permanent captain in 2012.
Alastair Cook won two Ashes series with England
Critics may also point out that he lost more than any other as well but that statistic is mitigated by the fact that Atherton, with 21 losses in 54, had a marginally worse loss percentage.
Of more relevance to those seeking to add balance to talk of his legacy would be the 5-0 Ashes whitewash in 2013-14 and the consequent fallout afterwards when Kevin Pietersen was axed – a period which should have been handled better by all sides.
Pietersen, who unsurprisingly and rather pettily tweeted ‘#BringBackKP’ following Cook’s decision yesterday, was perhaps the only player that would have a bad word for the outgoing skipper.
And while many might suggest that falling out with him is a badge of honour which should be proudly pinned to the chest, it was the one time Cook looked weak.
On the field his tactics were often criticised as too conservative, for all that they got more innovative as he progressed at the helm and particularly when England were in the ascendancy as in the Ashes of 2015.
Alastair Cook can still offer plenty for England going forward
They were not so good when England were under the cosh like with the tour of the West Indies in 2015, when losing to Sri Lanka a year later (for the first time ever on home soil), or when losing a first ever Test to Bangladesh last winter.
He was not a gambler which the very best captains have tended to be.
One thing which stayed fairly constant during his time as leader was his batting though.
As captain, he averaged 46.57 compared to his average when not captain which came in a fraction lower at 46.36.
And it is that which also bodes well for a return to the ranks where Cook, a brilliant, unwavering and relentless accumulator of runs, good man yet reluctant leader will still have much to contribute.