Joe Root steps down as England’s Test team captain

Joe Root has stepped down as England Test captain following a run of poor results capped by dispiriting tours of Australia and the Caribbean.

The 31-year-old was appointed as Alastair Cook’s successor in 2017 and holds the record for the most number of matches and wins as England Test captain. His 27 victories put him ahead of Michael Vaughan (26), Alastair Cook, and Andrew Strauss (24 each). But of his last 17 Tests in charge, he won just one.

Series defeats to India (Ongoing), New Zealand at home and a Ashes thrashing in the down under followed by the loss against West Indies have seen the red ball side slip to the bottom of the World Test Championship table with Root overseeing his 26th defeat as skipper, which is also an England record.

“After returning from the Caribbean tour and having time to reflect, I have decided to step down as England Men’s Test captain. It has been the most challenging decision I have had to make in my career but having discussed this with my family and those closest to me; I know the timing is right, Root said in a statement released by the ECB.

“I am immensely proud to have captained my country and will look back on the past five years with enormous pride. It has been an honour to have done the job and to have been a custodian of what is the pinnacle of English cricket. I have loved leading my country, but recently it’s hit home how much of a toll it has taken on me and the impact it has had on me away from the game.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, Carrie, Alfred and Bella, who have lived it all with me and been incredible pillars of love and support throughout. All of the players, coaches and support staff that have helped me during my tenure. It has been a great privilege to have been with them on this journey. I would also like to thank all the England supporters for their unwavering support. We are lucky to have the best fans in the world, and wherever we play, that positivity is something we always cherish and admire, which is a huge drive for all of us out there.

“I am excited to continue representing the Three Lions and producing performances that will enable the team to succeed. I look forward to helping the next captain, my teammates and coaches in whatever way I can.”

Ben Stokes, Root’s vice-captain, is the early favourite to succeed him as captain.

Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, said Root had been “an exceptional role model during his tenure, balancing the demands of Test captaincy whilst continuing to shine brilliantly through his own personal performances”.

“Joe’s leadership qualities were exemplified by how he led the team through some of the most difficult and uncertain times we have known, playing during the pandemic all over the world, which speaks volumes for him as a leader and as a person,” Harrison added. “I know that every single person who has played or worked under Joe’s captaincy will speak of his integrity and humility as a person, as much as his determination and example as a leader.

“Off the field, Joe has been no different. It has been a privilege and a huge pleasure to have worked with him in his capacity as our Test captain, and I know he’ll continue to drive English cricket forward as a senior player, offering his wealth of experience and advice to support his successor.”