Joe Root steps down as England test captain

Joe Root. Photo: Reuters
Joe Root. Photo: Reuters
Joe Root stepped down as England test captain on Friday, saying the job had taken a heavy toll on him recently, after dispiriting tours of Australia and the Caribbean capped a string of poor results that prompted calls for him to stand down.

England have won just one of their previous 17 tests and the pressure had been mounting on Root even before their 1-0 series defeat by the West Indies last month, which came on the heels of a 4-0 Ashes series thrashing by Australia.

Ex-England captains Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain were among those who had said it was time for Root to step down.

"After returning from the Caribbean tour and having time to reflect, I have decided to step down as England men's test captain," Root said in a statement issued by the England board (ECB).

"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."

Since taking charge in 2017 as Alastair Cook's successor, Root led England in a record 64 tests. His 27 wins and 26 defeats as captain are also records.

"I am immensely proud to have captained my country and will look back on the past five years with enormous pride," Root added.

"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 is England's second-highest test run-scorer of all time behind Cook and his tally of 5295 runs as skipper is the highest by an England captain.

All-rounder Ben Stokes, who was Root's deputy, has been tipped as a favourite to become the next captain.

"I look forward to helping the next captain, my team mates and coaches in whatever way I can," Root added.

The ECB are also 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.

ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison said Root had been "an exceptional role model" during his five-year tenure.

"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," Harrison said.

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