Joe Root named England Test captain
Joe Root has been named England's new Test cricket captain, replacing Alastair Cook.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed the appointment yesterday (February 13th), with chairman Colin Graves describing the Yorkshireman as "the perfect choice" for the role.
He added: "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."
Having been vice-captain, Root was widely expected to get the job; not least when Cook hinted he was about to step down during the Test series in India before Christmas and described the 26-year-old star batsman as being "ready to lead".
All-rounder Ben Stokes will be the new vice-captain, providing a fast bowler's insight to assist the new skipper. Fans booking corporate hospitality for the Test match between England and South Africa at the Kia Oval will get an exciting chance to see how the England team develops under this new regime.
Commenting on his appointment, Root said: "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."
Cook himself has offered Root some advice, telling him he should not be afraid to seek the advice of senior players around him. The former skipper admitted that he did not do this in his first two years in the role, but once he did, it "became an easier job to do".
Root made his debut for England in 2012 and scored his first Test century the following year, his 104 against New Zealand at Headingley making him the first Yorkshireman to make his maiden Test century at his home ground. Later that summer he made his first Ashes century as he hit 180 against Australia at Lord's, but struggled in the other Tests and was dropped during the return series down under as England were whitewashed.
However, Root responded by developing his game with improved footwork and an expanded range of shots, becoming a truly world-class player in 2014. His double century at Lord's against Sri Lanka was followed by two big centuries against India and another in the West Indies the following winter. He then showed he had got the measure of Australia's pace attack with two fine centuries in 2015 to pave the way for crucial Ashes victories at Cardiff and Nottingham.
Subsequent great innings have included a century in Johannesburg as England clinched a series win in South Africa 13 months ago, plus a career-best 254 at Old Trafford against Pakistan last summer.
Root now averages 52.8 from his 53 Test matches, scoring 4,594 runs with 11 centuries and 27 half centuries. His appointment means that the top four batsmen in the Reliance ICC Test rankings are all now captains of their country, the others being Australia's Steve Smith, Virat Kohli of India and New Zealander Kane Williamson.