After many months of discussion concerning his captaincy, Joe Root has ended the rumors about his position by formally stepping down as the Test captain of England’s men. The 31 years old batsman from Sheffield announced the imminent decision on Friday in the wake of growing criticism of his leadership abilities.
Struggles Outside Home
In the past year, England has campaigned in Australia and West Indies and lost both the series by 4-0 and 1-0 respectively. The humiliating defeats had prompted many experts to call for a change in leadership, citing Root’s inability to inspire his men. The decision also follows the sacking of Chris Silverwood as the head coach of the team after the Australian tour.
Despite the lackluster performance as the skipper, Root showed his capability as a batsman. With 1708 runs at an average of 61 in 2021, Root ended up scoring the third-highest amount of runs in a calendar year. However, the record highlighted the reality of a one-man army, with the other English batsmen nowhere near his ability.
End of Short Golden Age
In 2017, Root succeeded Alastair Cook as the 80th captain of England in tests. Since then, he has led the team in an astounding 64 tests, with 27 wins and 26 losses under his belt. The record is skewed by recent performance, as he could only register one win in the last 17 matches. He scored 5,864 runs as test captain, only behind four others on the list. Regardless of criticism, he will go down as one of the greatest test captains of the country with currently the highest number of wins.
“After returning from the Caribbean tour and having time to reflect, I have decided to step down as England men’s test captain,” Root expressed in a statement issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
“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. 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.”
The press statement was followed by kind responses from his teammates and fans. In a post on Instagram, Ben Stokes, vice-captain of the Test team, wrote an emotional post in tribute to Root’s tenure as captain. He posted: “Been a great ride with you, my friend. Watching one of my great mates lead us all out onto 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.” Many other entities from the cricketing world such as Michael Vaughan and Matt Prior poured their loving messages as well to the former leader.
As the present scrutinizes him, history may be kinder after the dust has settled and a new successor fills his shoes. It will not be an easy job and England will look at all its options, with Ben Stokes being a prominent candidate for the role. In the meantime, Root will look to continue his services for the England team with the bat and return to his scoring ways.
Joe Root raising his bat to celebrate a test century
Joe Root after 1-0 loss against West Indies
Published By : Akshita Katoch
Edited By : Vanshika Sahu