The England Cricket captain, Joe Root, announced that he was quitting the Test captaincy on Friday, April 15. This move was expected after the England side lost their latest test series against the West Indies. The England team has been in an abysmal run of form of late, having not won any test matches in their last nine. There had been calls for Root to step down earlier, to which he refused, but it is clear this loss was the final nail in the coffin for him as test captain. Root will continue to play for the England side but cited that the captain's role had taken a 'toll' on him and had an 'impact' on his life outside of the game.
Root has been the England captain for five years now, appointed in 2017 to succeed Sir Alastair Cook. Root's captaincy can be considered a success for English fans, despite the recent disappointing results. Out of 64 Test matches, England won 27, lost 26, and drew 11 leaving Root with a 42.18%-win ratio as captain. Overall, he captained the most Test Matches for England and had the most wins in history as captain, leaving behind a strong legacy. Series wins against India, South Africa, and Sri Lanka is just a few of his highlights as the England leader. On the other hand, his career is also notable for his failures in the Ashes series, which is of the utmost importance to England fans due to the intense rivalry against Australia.
Notably, Joe Root has not just been a successful captain for England in the past few years; he earnt that role by being one of their best players. Since he took the captaincy five years ago, he has scored 5,295 runs with 14 centuries. His most impressive year was in 2021, when he scored 1,708 runs in 15 matches, the most in the calendar year. This won him the achievement of being the 'ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year Award for 2021'. To achieve all of that while being captain of the England team is a testament to Joe Root's character and cricketing ability. It is certain that even though he is not leading the team anymore, he will remain an essential player for the side for years to come.
As for now, it is unclear who exactly will replace Joe Root. Bowlers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have been touted as possible replacements. Both are experienced veterans for England, but they may be seen as being at the tail end of their careers, thus making them short-term captains. Another possible player to replace the outgoing captain is fan favourite Ben Stokes, the talisman batsman who has stepped up in the big occasions for England in the 2019 Ashes and the 2019 World Cup final. However, off-field trouble with the police in the past, mental health problems in the last year, and being sidelined with long-term injuries may put Stokes out of the running for the captaincy.
This move now means that, at present, the England Cricket Team does not have a captain, a coach, or a managing director. The English Cricket Board will have to be swift in their appointments as the English side is due to play New Zealand in a three-test tour in June, followed by a one-off test with India in July, which was postponed due to COVID-19. It will be a busy summer for the English cricketers, and whoever they appoint will be tested immediately by two of the world's best cricketing sides in the coming months.
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