Joe Root explains England test match captain decision to step down: what he has said as ECB pay tribute

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Joe Root has described stepping down as England captain as ‘the most challenging decision of my career’.

The decision brings an end to his five-year tenure and comes on the back of a run of just one win in their last 17 test matches.

Pressure has been ramped up during a poor winter period with England crashing to a 4-0 Ashes series defeat against Australia before slipping to the bottom of the World Test Championship table with another series defeat in the West Indies.

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Despite the recent negativity, Root has earned two impressive records during his time as test match captain.

He has led the side in 64 tests - more than any other England captain - and has claimed a record 27 wins during that period.

He also holds the record of scoring more runs - 5,295 - than any other England skipper.

‘I have loved leading my country’

The 31-year-old will continue to play a part in the test setup and remains one of England’s key batsmen despite their recent struggles - but a statement released by the ECB on Friday morning confirmed his reign had come to an end.

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In the statement, Root said: “After returning from the Caribbean tour and having time to reflect, I have decided to step down as England Men’s Test Captain.

“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 honour to have done the job and to have been a custodian of what is the pinnacle of English cricket.

“I have loved leading my country, but recently it has 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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“I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, Carrie, Alfred and Bella, who have lived it all with me and been incredible pillars of love and support throughout. All of the players, coaches and support staff that have helped me during my tenure. It has been a great privilege to have been with them on this journey.

“I would also like to thank all the England supporters for their unwavering support. We are lucky to have the best fans in the world, and wherever we play, that positivity is something we always cherish and admire, which is a huge drive for all of us out there.

“I am excited to continue representing the Three Lions and producing performances that will enable the team to succeed. I look forward to helping the next captain, my teammates and coaches in whatever way I can.”

The search for his successor seems to offer few genuine alternatives.

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Ben Stokes looks to be one of the only realistic candidates given his standing in both the English and world game - but other options are few and far-between.

The appointment will be one of several key moves on the agenda for the ECB with vacancies for a managing director and men’s head coach still yet to be filled.

‘I know he’ll continue to drive English cricket forward’

Current ECB chief executive Tom Harrison paid tribute to Root and believes he will “offer his wealth of experience and advice” to whoever is chosen as his successor.

He said: “Joe has been an exceptional role model during his tenure, balancing the demands of Test captaincy whilst continuing to shine brilliantly through his own personal performances.

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“He has led by example, and that has resulted in more Test wins than any other England captain, alongside a number of famous series home and away victories.

“Joe’s leadership qualities were exemplified by how he led the team through some of the most difficult and uncertain times we have known, playing during the pandemic all over the world, which speaks volumes for him as a leader and as a person.

“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.

“Off the field, Joe has been no different. It has been a privilege and a huge pleasure to have worked with him in his capacity as our Test captain, and I know he’ll continue to drive English cricket forward as a senior player, offering his wealth of experience and advice to support his successor.”

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