Joe Root quits as England captain as the ECB go in search of their new man


Joe Root’s time as the England skipper has come to end after a dire run that saw his side win only one Test match in their last 17. 

Despite a long period of stunning personal form with the bat, Root’s position as captain became untenable after five straight series defeats.

With both Chris Silverwood and Ashley Giles having had to face the ECB’s chopping block after the disastrous Ashes tour Down Under, the recent West Indies series gave Root a chance to stamp his authority on his side and prove he was capable of bringing them forward into a new, more prosperous era of English cricket. 

That did not prove the case, with England going down 1-0 in the Caribbean and the calls only grew louder for England’s second highest Test run scorer to abdicate his position as skipper. 

Despite enjoying some of his best ever personal form, Joe Root’s position as Test captain became untenable after a run of numerous defeats

Root bows out holding the record for the most number of matches and wins as England men’s captain.

His 27 victories Test victories as skipper puts him ahead of the likes of Michael Vaughan, Sir Andrew Strauss and Sir Alastair Cook. 

The ECB, who are expected to announce their new director of cricket soon, have a tough job on their hands finding the man to replace Root. 

Ben Stokes, the obvious candidate to replace the outgoing skipper, previously said he harboured ‘no ambitions’ of taking the role. It remains to be seen whether that changes or whether the ECB will have to go left field to appoint England’s new Test captain.   

Having been Root’s vice-captain for a long while, understandably Stokes is the fancied pick. The all-rounder previously captained England for one Test in 2020 against the West Indies while Root was away at the birth of his child and led an ODI side against Pakistan last summer when Covid ripped through the England team. 

Ben Stokes is the obvious candidate to replace his great friend and teammate Joe Root

Ben Stokes is the obvious candidate to replace his great friend and teammate Joe Root

Whether or not Stokes, who is a savvy cricketer and could be expected to bring more on-field tactical acumen and nous to the role, wants the job is another matter. 

The sabbatical Stokes took from the game last year partly as a result of mental struggles and fatigue could indicate that a player already with a lot on his plate would not want to add the great strain of the England Test captaincy.  

England have a long history of burdening great all-rounders with the captaincy, namely Sir Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff. Stokes is however his own man and player and it is unlikely to be the case that the aforementioned examples influence the ECB’s thinking. 

Sam Billings’s name has been banded about since his debut as a potential replacement for Root in the role. 

Sam Billings made his debut earlier this year, impressing in Hobart with enthusiastic cricket

Sam Billings made his debut earlier this year, impressing in Hobart with enthusiastic cricket

With all change at the ECB, with a new coach coming in and a new director of cricket expected imminently, it would be a real shock were they to hand the captain to a Test novice.  

An enthusiastic and well-liked cricketer, it could be the case that Billings, who had to wait a long time for his Test cap, could form a big part of England’s immediate future going forward.   

Meanwhile, veteran of the side who was clearly extremely pained by the decision to drop him for the most recent tour, which England ended up losing, Stuart Broad would prove an experienced appointment. 

Both Broad and James Anderson have not gone quietly since their shock exclusions from the West Indies touring party and it cannot be doubted that were Broad to be offered the gig, he would most likely take it. 

Stuart Broad's place in the side is not assured and as such would be a surprising selection

Stuart Broad’s place in the side is not assured and as such would be a surprising selection

However, with the legendary England quick the wrong side of 35 and having already seen his workload managed it is doubtful whether appointing Broad would be the sensible choice.  

Like his great friend Broad, James Anderson was left extremely confused by the decision to leave him out of the squad to the West Indies. 

Like Broad, his career is certainly not starting out and with various niggles causing issues over the last few years, even if selected for the home Tests this summer, it is reasonable enough to ask whether he could manage to play in all seven.   

England's greatest ever wicket taker is well-liked and respected but like his great mate Stuart Broad has no certain future in the side

England’s greatest ever wicket taker is well-liked and respected but like his great mate Stuart Broad has no certain future in the side

However, like his longtime teammate and friend, Anderson would bring a wealth of experience to the role and knows what it takes to win with England having done it everywhere. 

Having enjoyed something of a renaissance of his Test career over the winter with impressive hundreds in Australia and the West Indies, Jonny Bairstow has emerged as a candidate. 

Jonny Bairstow has enjoyed a renaissance in his Test career in the last twelve months

Jonny Bairstow has enjoyed a renaissance in his Test career in the last twelve months

Root’s time as England skipper was often characterised by accusations that he was just too nice and his team was not ruthless enough on the field. There is no doubt such accusations would not be appropriately levelled at Root’s fellow Yorkshireman. 

A tough cricketer who has had to work hard for his place in the England team, but another candidate who has significant cons. Is his place in the England side assured, for instance? 

Odds for the next England captain 

Ben Stokes: 4/6

Stuart Broad: 7/1

Sam Billings: 8/1

Zak Crawley: 8/1 

Jonny Bairstow: 9/1 

Ben Foakes: 10/1

Tom Abell: 16/1

Rory Burns: 25/1

Moeen Ali: 25/1

James Anderson: 25/1

Ollie Pope: 25/1

 https://www.oddschecker.com/cricket/specials/next-permanent-england-test-captain/next-permanent-england-test-captain?selectionName=sam-billings



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