‘Humbled and privileged’: Joe Root handed England captaincy

Joe Root
Joe Root
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Yorkshireman Joe Root has been named as the new England cricket captain.

Root, 26, succeeds Alastair Cook who stood down last Monday.

Over to you:  Joe Root is set to succeed outgoing skipper Alastair Cook. (PA Sport)

Over to you: Joe Root is set to succeed outgoing skipper Alastair Cook. (PA Sport)

READ MORE - From Yorkshire scholar to the biggest job in English cricket

Root, who had been Cook’s vice-captain since May last year, will have five months to prepare for his first Test in charge - against South Africa at Lord’s on July 6.

“It is a huge honour to be given the England Test captaincy,” he said in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement which confirmed his appointment on Monday morning.

“I feel privileged, humbled and very excited.”

All-rounder Ben Stokes will be Root’s vice-captain, as England seek to establish a new leadership era on the pitch not just against South Africa and West Indies in the forthcoming summer but in time to face Australia in next winter’s Ashes.

England’s record Test run scorer Cook is expected to remain at the top of the order for the foreseeable future.

Root, who averages almost 53 in his 53 Tests to date, will therefore have no shortage of advisers to turn to on and off the pitch - including experienced pace pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad, and coaches Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace.

He added: “We have a very good group of players, and I’m looking forward to leading them out in the summer - building on Alastair’s achievements and making the most of our talents in the years ahead.

“The senior guys in the changing room play a very influential role - and while there’s a natural progression for me, it’s a huge support to know that they are there to help and advise.”

Root was offered the job, and accepted, on Sunday evening after ECB chairman Colin Graves approved the recommendation of the selectors and the governing body’s director of England cricket Andrew Strauss.

Graves, a fellow Yorkshireman, said: “Joe Root is the perfect choice for England Test captain.

“I’m delighted that he has accepted the role and will now help to take the team to the next level.

“When I spoke to him last night you could feel the excitement and sense the pride - he can’t wait to get started.

“Joe is a fine player and a fine person who has the respect of the players, the selectors and all at the ECB. He also has a changing room with experienced players and leaders who will support him from the start.”

Root’s appointment comes at a time when England need to restate their Test credentials, having been within one win of going top of the rankings under Cook last summer only to then lose a match for the first time in their history to Bangladesh and suffer a series of wide-margin defeats to all-conquering India before Christmas.

Graves added: “Joe has maturity beyond his years - and, having seen him develop at Yorkshire over the last 10 years, I know his qualities well.

“The role of Test captain is an honour and a responsibility which he thoroughly deserves.

“I offer my congratulations to Joe for becoming Test captain - and once again, my thanks to Alastair Cook for the way he has developed the team, the timing of his decision and the platform he has given his successor.”

Root made his Test debut in December 2012 in Nagpur on England’s previous Test tour of India in a series victory under Cook - the latter’s first as permanent captain.

Cook had taken over from Strauss, who in his new administrative guise also has high praise for Root.

He said: “Joe is the right man to be our next Test captain, and I’m thrilled he has accepted the role.

“After Alastair Cook stepped down last week, the selectors and I engaged in the proper process to appoint his successor. Following informal and formal conversations with members of the Test team at the end of the week, the offer was put to Joe - and he accepted immediately.”

Strauss has long been impressed by Root - as a batsman who stands at number three in the Test rankings, and a potential captain.

“Joe has shown a number of admirable qualities in his Test career so far,” he added.

“Making his debut in 2012 at the age of 21 and going on to establish himself as one of the premier batsmen in all forms of the game in such a short period of time demonstrates his drive, determination, cricketing intelligence and an ability to learn that will serve him well in his new role.

“He is universally respected by his team-mates, passionate about driving the Test team forward and extremely excited about the prospect of leading his country.”

Strauss believes Root and Stokes will form a winning partnership.

“I’m also delighted that Ben Stokes will take over from Joe as vice-captain of the team,” he said.

“He has real presence and influence within the team environment that serve as a great source of support for Joe. I have no doubts that the responsibility will also help Ben to continue his rapid rise as a world-class all-rounder.”