London: England pace spearhead James Anderson has admitted that he feared skipper Alastair Cook would step down from his role in the wake of criticism.
England's recent Ashes Test cricket series victory over Australia came off the back of a testing 18-month period in which Cook's leadership qualities had been questioned and critics pondered whether he should even be in the side. England have taken a 3-1 lead with the fifth and final Test scheduled to begin on August 20.
"I'll be honest, there were times when I thought Cooky was going to quit as captain. His leadership was criticised, even his personality was vilified. He was subjected to all manner of attacks," Anderson was quoted as saying by newspaper The Sun on Sunday.
"But he never lost the respect and support of his players and has now become only the third man after WG Grace and Mike Brearley to captain England to two Ashes successes at home," the England's highest wicket-taker added.
"Cooky has certainly endued some low points, such as us being whitewashed in Australia, losing to Sri Lanka at Headingley last summer, being beaten by India at Lord's and having the one-day captaincy taken away from him."
Anderson missed the series clinching victory against Australia at Trent Bridge with a side strain but is now bidding to be fit for the final test at The Oval.