|Andrew Strauss still retains the Test captaincy [AFP]
Alastair Cook was named as England's one-day captain on Thursday, in a surprise move that also saw paceman Stuart Broad appointed as skipper of the Twenty20 squad.
Andrew Strauss retains the Test side leadership.
The announcement by the England and Wales Cricket Board was unexpected as Cook, Strauss's opening partner in Tests, was not even a member of the England side at the recent Cricket World Cup in the subcontinent.
Cook takes over after Strauss opted to retire from the limited overs game to prolong his Test career. Broad replaced all-rounder Paul Collingwood as Twenty20 captain
England now have three captains in all forms of the game.
"It's never been tried before so we're quite excited about the opportunity this provides us,'' team director Andy Flower said.
"We do not know 100 per cent if it will work or if it will be the most effective system.
"This could be the most effective use of our resources.''
Andrew Strauss said that the amount of cricket now played - with lengthy one-day series now customary alongside Test matches and Twenty20 increasingly popular - was one of the reasons for the decision to pick multiple captains.
"The thing I'm most excited about with the structure is that it gives each captain the opportunity to come in and add their drive and verve,'' Strauss said.
Flower said there had been a formal interview process for players interested in the captain roles, with star batsman Kevin Pietersen among those passed over.
"There was a rigorous interview process and we're very comfortable with the decision we made,'' Flower said.
Left hander Cook, 26, was the outstanding batsman during England's 3-1 Ashes triumph, during which he scored 766 runs.
However, he was not included for the subsequent one-day series against Australia nor the Cricket World Cup.
"Andrew Strauss has led the one-day team to continued success over the past two years and I'll be looking to continue that progress as captain," Cook, who has made just three ODI appearances in the past 2-1/2 years, said.
"I've worked hard on my limited overs cricket in recent times. I've never seen myself as a Test batsman exclusively and I know I have a lot to offer strategically and as a top order batsman in one-day cricket.
"I will continue to work closely with Andrew Strauss and also Stuart Broad as we form a leadership team across all forms of the game. We have the chance to work together and share ideas which will benefit our cricket on all three formats."
Strauss, who led England to the World Cup quarterfinals where they were beaten by Sri Lanka in Colombo in March, said: "We still have a long way to go if we're to achieve our goal of winning ICC global events and I feel now is the right time for me to step aside and ensure someone else takes up that challenge.
"Retiring from one-day cricket will also enable me to focus solely on the Test captaincy and our ongoing development in the Test arena as we also strive to be the top ranked team in world cricket."
Fast-bowling all-rounder Broad, will make his debut as T20 captain when he leads world champions against Sri Lanka in Bristol on June 25.
England host Sri Lanka in a three-Test, five-match ODI series from May 26 before taking on World Cup champions India from July 21 to September 16.