Joe Root will succeed Alastair Cook as England’s next Test captain, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Monday (February 13).
Root, 26, who had been the vice-captain since the summer of 2015 under Cook’s leadership, will become the country’s 80th Test captain, being expectedly elevated to the post in the wake of Cook’s resignation as the skipper.
Ben Stokes, the seam-bowling allrounder, will be the new vice-captain. Both appointments were approved by Colin Graves, the ECB chairman, on Sunday evening, following the recommendation of the selectors under the guidance of Andrew Strauss, the director of England Cricket.
Root’s first series in charge will be a four-Test affair against South Africa at home in July.
Root made his Test debut in December 2012 and scored the first of his 11 Test centuries at Headingley in May 2013. He currently has 4594 Test runs at an average of 52.80, and is ranked third in the ICC rankings for Test batsmen.
Root said he felt “privileged, humbled and very excited” at being offered the role. “It is a huge honour to be given the England Test captaincy. 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.”
Strauss said Root was the right man to lead the team. Straus had consulted key members of the team and coaching staff and held in-depth conversations with three players, alongside Trevor Bayliss, the head coach – before the selectors made their final decision.
“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,” added Strauss. “He is universally respected by his teammates, passionate about driving the Test team forward and extremely excited about the prospect of leading his country.
“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. I have no doubts that the responsibility will also help Ben to continue his rapid rise as a world-class allrounder.”
Graves described Root as the ‘perfect’ choice for captaincy and said he had the respect of the players, the selectors and the ECB.
“Joe Root is the perfect choice for England Test captain. I’m delighted that he has accepted the role and will now help to take the team to the next level,” said Graves. “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.”