On this day in 2017: Joe Root ‘humbled’ to become England Test captain

Joe Root described himself as “privileged, humbled and very excited” after being confirmed as England’s new Test captain on this day in 2017.

The then-26-year-old Yorkshire batter was handed the reins in the wake of Alastair Cook’s resignation after a 59-game tenure.

Root, who was averaging a little under 53 over 53 Tests at the time, was appointed ahead of home summer series against South Africa and the West Indies with an Ashes tour looming, on the recommendation of the selectors and the ECB’s director of England cricket Andrew Strauss.

England v Australia – LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2023 – Third Test – Day Two – Headingley
Joe Root suffered two 4-0 defeats to Australia Down Under (Danny Lawson/PA)

With Ben Stokes as his vice-captain, vastly-experienced bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad at his disposal and coaches Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace behind the scenes, he set out on his mission with some optimism.

Root said at the time: “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 new captain was appointed with England in a state of flux, having lost a match for the first time to Bangladesh and suffered at the hands of India as Cook’s reign, which had taken his side to within a win of the top of the Test rankings, drew to a close.

In all, Root led his country out onto the field in 64 Tests and collected 27 wins before he eventually stood down from the role in April 2022.

His tenure included two depressing 4-0 Ashes defeats Down Under either side of a 2-2 draw at home, but also more encouraging series wins over India and in Sri Lanka before the coronavirus pandemic intervened.

However, he called it a day in April 2022 after a decisive 10-wicket defeat in the West Indies, with the pressure of the job weighing heavily on his shoulders.

He said: “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.”

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