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Root quits as English Test captain: 'It's been an honour but taken a toll'

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15th April, 2022
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Joe Root has stepped down as England Test captain on the back of the Ashes disaster in Australia and a series defeat in the West Indies.

The ECB released a statement to say Root had opted to resign in the wake of recent results, with the record-breaking skipper citing the heavy toll it has taken on him but also saying he was immensely proud of his achievements.

Root holds the record for the most number of matches and wins as England men’s Test captain with 27 victories, ahead of Michael Vaughan (26), Alastair Cook, and Andrew Strauss (24 each) but the team has won just once in its past 17 outings.

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 the ECB statement.

“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.  

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“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.” 

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Root was heavily criticised for his leadership in the 4-0 Ashes tour defeat while the side drew the first two matches against the West Indies before capitulating in the third Test to lose by 10 wickets.

All-rounder Ben Stokes is the likely successor to Root, particularly given he is one of very few English players who is guaranteed a spot in the team who has any captaincy experience.

After being appointed as Cook’s successor in 2017, Root led the side to a 4-1 home series win over India in 2018 and a 3-1 triumph away to South Africa in 2020. In 2018 he became the first England captain to win a Test series in Sri Lanka since 2001, a feat he went on to repeat with a 2-0 victory in Sri Lanka in 2021.

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He is England’s second highest Test run scorer of all time behind only Cook and scored 14 centuries as skipper. His tally of 5295 runs as captain is the highest by any Englishman and puts him fifth in the all-time list behind only Graeme Smith, Alan Border, Ricky Ponting and Virat Kohli.

ECB CEO Tom Harrison said Root would “continue to drive English cricket forward as a senior player, offering his wealth of experience and advice to support his successor”.

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