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Joe Root backed for captaincy by James Anderson

February 8, 2017

Joe Root's chances of becoming England cricket captain have been boosted after he received the backing of England's leading wicket taker James Anderson.

The Yorkshireman was given Lancastrian backing when Anderson spoke on the BBC Radio 5 Live Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show. 

Anderson said: "Root is fairly quiet but he has got that fire in his belly. He's a really impressive young man.

"Root gets into situations, one-on-ones, with people. He speaks a lot of sense when he does speak and he's a really impressive young man.

"He's the obvious candidate. The decision is a big one because he's our best player, so you obviously don't want that to be affected."

England's director of cricket Andrew Strauss said this week that nobody was being ruled in or out following the decision of Alastair Cook to relinquish the role, but Root is widely expected to get the job and the backing of a 34-year-old who has played under five different permanent captains - plus Andrew Flintoff as a stand-in - may have an influence. 

Anderson said he would "not be against" the job going to a bowler such as Stuart Broad, but warned this could be a problem as fast bowlers tend to be injured more.

If Root is promoted there will be a vacancy for a vice-captain, and former England one-day captain Paul Collingwood told the same show he believed Ben Stokes would be ideal.

He remarked: "Ben has got a natural draw to him and he would be an excellent vice-captain for Root.

"The captain will have leaders underneath him that he knows he can go to - I think Ben Stokes would be the perfect man for that."

Fans booking corporate hospitality for August's Edgbaston Test between England and the West Indies may be excited by such a prospect, not least as it may be fascinating to see how Stokes would handle the responsibility when he renews his fierce rivalry with West Indian all-rounder Marlon Samuels.

Co-host of the show Michael Vaughan, the holder of the most Test wins as England captain, gave his backing to Root, who started out at the same club side in Sheffield. 

Responding to the notion that being captain would diminish Root's prolific output of runs, Vaughan poured scorn on the notion, observing that the likes of India's Virat Kohli and New Zealander Kane Williamson have scored more runs since becoming captain of their respective Test sides. 

Vaughan himself enjoyed the best patch of his career just before he became England skipper in 2003, making a brilliant 156 at Edgbaston in the game before. His first century as captain came eight Tests later against Sri Lanka in Kandy.

Alastair Cook made 12 of his 30 Test centuries and 4,844 of his 11,057 runs while leading the side, but perhaps the best case of an England captain raising his game while leading the side was Cook's mentor at Essex Graham Gooch. 

Despite being made captain in his late 30s when many players would have retired from Test cricket, Gooch produced some of his greatest innings as captain, including his 333 in 1990 against India and 154 not out on a low-scoring match at Headingley in 1991, when he defied a capricious pitch and the great West Indies pace attack to set up an England win.

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