The toll of captaincy
Joe Root’s legacy as England test captain was blotched in the last year of his tenure.
Root captained England in a total of 64 test matches out of which he won 27 and lost 26 while drawing the rest. The numbers are decent enough but not outstanding.
What’s notable though was that his form as a batter did not fluctuate with losses and victories. He scored 5295 runs as the captain of England in Test cricket at an average of 46.45.
On the way down
England had started on a bright note, beating Sri Lanka by 2-0 right after cricket resumed following the COVID-19 break. The team then won the first test match of the 4 match series against India in Chennai and all things looked rosy.
However, India bounced back, taking the series 3-1 and pushing England out of the World Test Championship final race.
The team then competed in the Ashes and suffered a humiliating defeat. They not only lost the series 4-0 but were not able to give Australia a run for their money. Another series defeat against West Indies meant that it became untenable for Root to continue as the England test captain.
It also took quite a mental toll on him with him trying his best to somehow pull England out of trouble but there wasn’t much he could have done in the absence of a great team and finally passed over the baton of the England test captaincy to his mate Ben Stokes.
Stokes turned things around instantly with the support of head coach Brendon McCullum and started off his permanent test captaincy career with a series victory over New Zealand at the start of the English summer in 2022.
“I’d thrown every bit of myself into it and it was starting to have an unhealthy effect on the rest of my life as well. I couldn’t leave it in the car or at the cricket ground; it was coming home. It’s not fair on myself and it wasn’t fair on my family. It’s obviously been really tough,” Root said during the New Zealand series.
“A lot of people will talk about my personal performances over the last year or so, runs-wise, but it’s never enjoyable when you’re losing Test matches and you’d give all those runs up to win. I want to enjoy my cricket and I want to enjoy playing. It’s a role that needs someone who is going to give it so much energy and you can see that with Ben. I’m really excited for this team and for him that he’s in that position.”