London: Joe Root said he felt “privileged, humbled and very excited” after being given the “huge honour” of being named England’s new Test captain.
One of the worst kept secrets in English sport was finally made public Monday when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced yesterday that Root had been made Test captain in succession to Alastair Cook.
The Yorkshire batsman, previously England’s vice-captain, had been the overwhelming favourite to take over from Cook, who resigned as Test skipper last week after a national record 59 matches in charge.
“It is a huge honour to be given the England Test captaincy,” the 26-year-old Root said in an ECB statement.
“I feel privileged, humbled and very excited,” added Root, who made his Test debut under Cook and is now regarded as England’s leading batsman.
Meanwhile, the ECB said all-rounder Ben Stokes would succeed Root as vice-captain of the Test side.
Cook, England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, is set to continue his international career and could play under Root during the 2017/18 Ashes in Australia, as well as this year’s home series against South Africa and the West Indies.
Root will also be able to call upon the experience of new-ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad, as well as coach Trevor Bayliss.
“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,” said Root. “The senior guys in the changing room play a very influential role – and while there’s a natural progression for me, it’s a huge support to know that they are there to help and advise.”
Andrew Strauss, the ECB’s director of cricket, added: “Joe is the right man to be our next Test captain and I’m thrilled that he has accepted the role.”
Root, who has little in the way of senior leadership experience behind him, will have several months to prepare for his first match as captain, with England’s next Test not starting until July 6, when they face South Africa at Lord’s.
England will be looking to bounce back after a difficult 2016 in Test cricket, with Cook resigning following a 4-0 series defeat in India at the end of last year.