England's record run scorer Alastair Cook has admitted he will give his mates a free pass when he steps into commentary box.

The retired England cricket captain has left fans scratching their heads after revealing his game plan as a new member of the BBC's test match team.

Cook will also write for The Sunday Times, and told the newspaper that he will not criticise long time team mates, opening bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

"I am not going to criticise James Anderson if he has a bad day. Broady, too," Cook said.

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"There is no way around it. We have been through so much together, especially Jimmy. I have too much respect for him and I am too friendly with him.

"They might not be around for much longer and it will be easier with the next guys."

While some fans understood Cook's position, others tweeted that it was a sad day for commentary.

"He's basically acting in a PR capacity for his mates," wrote one disgruntled cricket follower.

Cook is particularly close to Anderson, who he has described as England's best-ever cricketer.

When Cook retired following the series victory over India last year, Anderson described him as "an amazing guy".

"He really cares about people, cares about English cricket," said Anderson, who has taken more test wickets than any other fast bowler.