Here’s Why Joe Root Stepped Down As England Test Captain

Despite the chaos on the Test side in the past year, Joe Root goes down as England's most successful Test captain.

In a decision on expected lines, Joe Root has stepped down as England men’s Test captain on Friday. This was coming as Joe Root’s position as the skipper had become indefensible with England winning only 1 of their last 17 Tests, matters further compounded by poor selections calls, in the squad and in the eleven.

joe root

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Root asserted that he had “discussed this with my family and those closest to me” and reckons the “timing is right” for him to step down and let someone else take over. Ben Stokes, the Test vice-captain, is the front-runner to be the next Test captain, however, that call comes with its own doubts as the all-rounder has been recovering from physical and mental health issues in the past year.

The walls were closing in on Root and the voices of the former cricketers, fans, experts – basically anybody and everybody who had an opinion on English cricket had an opinion on Joe Root’s captaincy position – were growing with each passing Test match.

Despite the chaos on the Test side in the past year, Joe Root goes down as England’s most successful Test captain: he had been in the role for 5 years and has overseen more Test matches (64), wins (27) and defeats (26) than any other England captain.

A 4-1 home series win over India in 2018, a 3-1 triumph away to South Africa in 2020, two series wins in Sri Lanka – in 2018 and 2021 – and a Test match win in Chennai last year were the high points of his captaincy tenure. On the other side – twice losing the Ashes 4-0 in Australia, 2-1 loss in India last year and trailing by 2-1 to India at home in the unfinished series, the Ashes series loss were the lows with the 1-0 series loss in West Indies the final nail in the coffin.

In the aftermath of the Ashes and West Indies series loss, the ECB had sacked the men’s team managing director, head coach, selectors; and then Root’s position that had become untenable is now vacant too.

joe root

Root’s own form though shone brightly with the bat: while his teammates struggled to middle the ball, the then England captain racked up 1708 runs last year, the most by an England player – and third-most by any player – in a calendar year.

And while Root may or may not have been the best leader of a team on the field, he was surely a great leader of men, inspiring his teammates, helping them out whenever in need; Root was the arm around Stokes’ shoulder when the all-rounder was going through difficult times last year.

Ben Stokes, who is likely to replace Root at the helm of the Test team, paid tribute to his great friend on Instagram: “Been a great ride with you my friend. Watching one of my great mates lead us all out on to the field was a privilege. You have given everything to English cricket and we all want to say thank you for your sacrifices and hard work,” Stokes wrote.

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Jatin Khandelwal

Hi, I am Jatin Khandelwal. Cricket writing came accidentally for me with an undergrad engineering degree. With opportunities first as a freelancer and then full-time, and experience with time, I have grown in the role. The Cricket Lounge is a place where I can thrive with the best of my abilities.

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