Joe Root has been named the new England Test cricket captain after the England and Wales Cricket Board chose the batsman as the suitable replacement for Alastair Cook, following his resignation from the position last week.
The 26-year-old Root becomes England’s 80th Test captain, the 10th of whom hails from Yorkshire, and his promotion will see all-rounder Ben Stokes take on the vice-captain duty that Root vacates.
“It is a huge honour to be given the England Test captaincy," Root said in an ECB statement announcing the appointment. "I feel privileged, humbled and very excited.
“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 senior guys in the changing room play a very influential role and whilst there’s a natural progression for me it’s a huge support to know that they are there to help and advise.”
Cook announced his resignation last Monday after making the decision to step down on the way back from the dismal 4-0 Test series defeat in India, having led the national side for four-and-a-half years. Cook will remain available for selection, and is likely to be one of the names included in Root’s first squad as skipper.
The new captain drew praise from former England captain Andrew Strauss, with the ECB’s director of cricket confirming that Root’s determination to “drive the Test team forward” after eight defeat in their last 17 matches was a big factor in his appointment.
“Joe is the right man to be our next Test captain and I’m thrilled that he has accepted the role," said Strauss.
“After Alastair Cook stepped down last week, the Selectors and I engaged in the proper process to appoint his successor. Following informal and formal conversations with members of the Test team at the end of the week, the offer was put to Joe and he accepted immediately.
“Joe has shown a number of admirable qualities in his Test career so far. Making his debut in 2012 at the age of 21 and going on to establish himself as one of the premier batsmen in all forms of the game in such a short period of time demonstrates his drive, determination, cricketing intelligence and an ability to learn that will serve him well in his new 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.”
Strauss also praised Stokes for taking on the role as vice-captain, with the Durham all-rounder proving to be one of England’s most watchable players during the second half of Cook’s reign, and Strauss believes he will help share the burden with Root as he adjusts to his new role.
“I’m also delighted that Ben Stokes will take over from Joe as vice-captain of the team. He has real presence and influence within the team environment that serve as a great source of support for Joe,” Strauss added. “I have no doubts that the responsibility will also help Ben to continue his rapid rise as a world class all-rounder.”
The chairman of the ECB, Colin Graves, approved both appointments on Sunday night, and spoke to Root about his imminent appointment in which he conveyed his enthusiasm to take on the role of leading the team.
“Joe Root is the perfect choice for England Test captain," said Graves. "I’m delighted that he has accepted the role and will now help to take the team to the next level.
“When I spoke to him last night you could feel the excitement and sense the pride – he can’t wait to get started.
“Joe is a fine player and a fine person who has the respect of the players, the selectors and all at the ECB. He also has a changing room with experienced players and leaders who will support him from the start.
“The role of Test captain is an honour and a responsibility which he thoroughly deserves. Joe has maturity beyond his years and having seen him develop at Yorkshire over the last ten years I know his qualities well.
“I offer my congratulations to Joe for becoming Test captain and, once again, my thanks to Alastair Cook for the way he has developed the team, the timing of his decision and the platform he has given his successor.”
Root will have to wait to lead the team though, with England’s next task a three-match One-Day International tour of the West Indies next month, where Eoin Morgan will continue to lead the side in the shorter format, with his first change to lead the side coming in the summer Test series against South Africa which starts in July.