Joe Root has announced he is stepping down as England’s Test captain.
Root’s decision comes after the 1-0 Test series defeat to West Indies last month, and the 4-0 Ashes loss to Australia in the winter.
“After returning from the Caribbean tour and having time to reflect, I have decided to step down as England men’s Test captain,” Root said.
“It has been the most challenging decision I have had to make in my career but having discussed this with my family and those closest to me; I know the timing is right.
“I am immensely proud to have captained my country and will look back on the past five years with enormous pride. It has been an honour to have done the job and to have been a custodian of what is the pinnacle of English cricket.”
Root, 31, holds the record for the highest number of wins as England’s Test captain, his 27 putting him one ahead of Michael Vaughan and three ahead of Sir Alastair Cook and Sir Andrew Strauss.
But the past 12 months have been dismal. After winning their opening three Tests of 2021, England have won just one since, losing 11 and drawing five of their last 17.
Root has not been alone in paying a price for that, and his exit leaves England without a captain, head coach, and managing director while the England and Wales Cricket Board seeks a new chair.
Root added: “I have loved leading my country, but recently it’s hit home how much of a toll it has taken on me and the impact it has had on me away from the game.”
Root, who is England’s second-highest Test run-scorer behind Cook, scored 14 centuries as captain, with his tally of 5,295 runs as skipper the highest of any England captain.
“I am excited to continue representing the Three Lions and producing performances that will enable the team to succeed,” he said. “I look forward to helping the next captain, my teammates and coaches in whatever way I can.”
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “Joe has been an exceptional role model during his tenure, balancing the demands of Test captaincy whilst continuing to shine brilliantly through his own personal performances.
“He has led by example, and that has resulted in more Test wins than any other England captain, alongside a number of famous series home and away victories.
He gave it everything with very little support for the Red ball team under his watch .. then he had to deal with Covid times .. he still is and will the games best role model for many many years .. now enjoy being the senior player for many more seasons @root66 👍👍— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) April 15, 2022
“Joe’s leadership qualities were exemplified by how he led the team through some of the most difficult and uncertain times we have known, playing during the pandemic all over the world, which speaks volumes for him as a leader and as a person.”
Writing on Twitter, former England captain Michael Vaughan said: “He gave it everything with very little support for the red ball team under his watch… then he had to deal with Covid times… he still is and will (be) the game’s best role model for many many years… now enjoy being the senior player for many more seasons.”
Ben Stokes, who will be a common name when replacements are discussed, paid tribute to Root on Instagram.
“Been a great ride with you my friend,” he said. “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.”