Joe Root has stepped down as captain of the England men’s test cricket team, saying he is “tremendously proud” to have led the national side.
Root was appointed as Sir Alastair Cook’s successor in 2017, and led the side to a number of famous series victories.
He said: “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, 31, holds the record for the most number of matches and wins as England men’s test captain, with his 27 victories putting him ahead of cricket greats Michael Vaughan, Sir Alastair Cook, and Sir Andrew Strauss
“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 honor to have done the job and to have been a custodian of what is the pinnacle of English cricket.”
In 2015 he helped bring the Ashes home as England triumphed over Australia, being crowned player of the series in the process.
Root’s was the shining performance of the five-game series, making 460 runs and scoring centuries in the first and fourth tests.
‘The game’s best role model for many, many years’
Former captain Vaughan praised him as “the game’s best role model for many, many years” after the news emerged on Friday morning.
He said on Twitter: “He gave it everything with very little support for the red ball team under his watch .. then he had to deal with Covid times .. he still is and will (be) the games best role model for many many years .. now enjoy being the senior player for many more seasons”.
Root enjoyed instant success as skipper, both personally and results-wise, after succeeding Cook in the wake of a drubbing in India.
A score of 190 on his captaincy debut – the first test against South Africa at Lord’s in the summer of 2017 – was the highest of six centuries scored by England captains in their first match in the job.
But his relinquishing of the role came after a less than dazzling team performance in the 2021-2022 Ashes series, in which England were thumped 4-0 in Australia.
The damning result led Australian cricket coach Ricky Pointing to label England the worst-performing tourists he had ever seen.
Who next for captain?
Former England captain Michael Atherton told Sky Sports News: “I’m not surprised. It had got to a stage at the end of the Ashes, even before the West Indies tour, where it was pretty clear change was needed.
Asked who might succeed Root, Atherton added: “There aren’t many. Because of the scrutiny, you’ve got to be worth your place in the side. Ben Stokes is the obvious one, and what helps is that Joe Root has stepped down of his own accord.
“Ben Stokes is very loyal to Joe and he will feel a lot easier about taking the job if offered given that Root stepped down of his own accord.”
Stokes paid tribute to Root on Instagram, saying: “Been a great ride with you my friend.”
“Watching one of my great mates lead us all out on to the field was a privilege. You have given everything to English cricket and we all want to say thank you for your sacrifices and hard work.”