On this day: Joe Root is confirmed as England’s new Test captain

Test cricket

Joe Root was confirmed as England’s new Test captain on this day in 2017, one week after Sir Alastair Cook’s resignation.

Yorkshire batter Root, then 26, stepped up from vice-captain to become the 80th man to lead his country in the red-ball game.

Sheffield-born Root, who had been Cook’s right-hand man since May 2016, said: “It is a huge honour to be given the England Test captaincy.

“I feel privileged, humbled and very excited.”

England v South Africa – First Investec Test Match – Day One – Lord's

Joe Root hit a century in his first match as England captain (Nigel French/PA)

After announcing Root as Test skipper, England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss, Cook’s predecessor as captain until 2012, said: “Joe is the right man to be our next Test captain, and I’m thrilled he has accepted the 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.”

When Cook stepped down he was England’s highest run-scorer in Test cricket and went on to score 12,472 Test runs in 161 matches – fifth on the all-time list – before retiring in 2018.

At the time of Root’s appointment, no batter had scored more than his 4,594 runs since he made his Test debut in December 2012. He is currently 14th on the all-time list with 9,600 runs in 114 matches.

Root became England’s longest-serving Test captain during the recent 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia, surpassing Cook’s record of 59 matches in last month’s drawn fourth Test in Sydney.

That was extended to 61 matches in the 146-run defeat in the fifth Test and Root also holds the record of most Test wins as England captain – 27 compared to Cook’s 24.

The International Cricket Council named Root the men’s Test cricketer of the year last month after he scored 1,708 runs in 2021 – the third-highest total on record in a calendar year.

Only Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf (1,788 in 2006) and West Indies great Viv Richards (1,710 in 1976) have scored more.

But although Root enjoyed a stellar calendar year with the bat, his position as captain has come under serious question.

England lost nine of their 15 Test matches in 2021 – equalling Bangladesh’s record for most defeats in a year – and have won just one of their last 14.

While Root has delivered the most Test wins as England captain, he has also presided over a record 24 defeats, but is set to lead the side in next month’s three-Test series in the West Indies.

 

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