Root relinquishes Test captaincy; cites “toll” and “impact”


Joe Root has stepped down as England Test captain, citing the “toll” and “impact” the role has had on him.

The 31-year-old was appointed Sir Alastair Cook’s successor in 2017, and holds the record for the highest number of matches and wins as captain.

But his last series as skipper ended in defeat by West Indies, the 10-wicket third Test loss stretching England’s winless run to nine matches.

Root initially said he wanted to stay on, but now says “the timing is right”.

“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,” said Root, who has not stepped down as an England player.

“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.”

Root’s tally of 5,295 runs as captain is the most by any England captain, and he scored 14 centuries while holding the position.

England’s second-highest Test run scorer of all time, he led his country in a record 64 Tests and has overseen the most wins (27), but also the most defeats (26).

His notable series losses include two 4-0 Ashes defeats in Australia, in 2017-18 and 2021-22.

“I am excited to continue representing the Three Lions and producing performances that will enable the team to succeed,” Root added.

“I look forward to helping the next captain, my team-mates and coaches in whatever way I can.”

Joe Root of England shakes hands with Kraigg Brathwaite after the West Indies defeated England in the third Test at National Cricket Stadium on March 27, 2022 in Grenada, Grenada. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

‘He has led by example’

Last month’s series defeat in the Caribbean followed England’s 4-0 Ashes defeat at the hands of Australia and is their fourth series loss in a row – fifth if including the unfinished series against India, in which England trail 2-1.

England have won one of their past 17 Tests, their worst run since the 1980s.

They are in the process of appointing a new managing director and men’s head coach, following the departures of Ashley Giles and Chris Silverwood after the Ashes.

It had been expected a decision on Root’s future would be made once those positions had been filled.

“Joe has been an exceptional role model during his tenure, balancing the demands of Test captaincy whilst continuing to shine brilliantly through his own personal performances,” said England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison.

“He has led by example, and that has resulted in more Test wins than any other England captain, alongside a number of famous series home and away victories.

“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.

“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.” (BBC Sport)

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