Joe Root: New England captain ready made for role

Joe Root

Joe Root’s first match as a first-class captain came in charge of England Lions in 2013

New England Test captain Joe Root is ideally suited to the role, says former skipper Michael Vaughan.

Root, 26, takes over from Alastair Cook despite having led in only four first-class matches – three for Yorkshire and one for England Lions.

“People who say he’s not quite ready are talking nonsense. He’s driven and got the right attitude,” ex-Yorkshire batsman Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 live.

“He’s ready-made for the England captaincy.”

Root, who has played 53 Tests, will not properly take over until the first Test against South Africa in July, with England only playing limited-over cricket for the first half of 2017.

His four matches as captain in first-class cricket have produced mixed results.

In April 2014, his Yorkshire side conceded 472 in the fourth innings to lose to Middlesex, but later that year he skippered them to a victory over Nottinghamshire that sealed the County Championship.

‘Root has to take risks’ – Boycott

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Joe Root announced as England Test captain

Former Yorkshire and England captain Geoffrey Boycott said fans will be looking for Root “to take a risk now and again” and the nature of Test cricket means the new captain will occasionally “have to make things happen”.

“Everything that has ever been thrown at Joe, every time he’s moved upwards in his career, he’s handled it,” Boycott told BBC Radio 5 live.

“If not straight away, then he’s quickly got to it because he’s got an acute cricket brain.”

Boycott, who led England in four Tests in 1978, said he hoped to see Root move back down the order to bat at four, to give him more time to cope with the added interview demands of the captaincy.

The 76-year-old added that being a Yorkshireman will stand Root in good stead as captain, because “we’re good at it”.

‘He looked like the Milky Bar kid’ – Gale

Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon described Root as “a born leader”.

“He has always studied the game and different tactics throughout his career,” said Moxon.

“It’s not something that he is going to have to learn before his first Test. I’m sure he will do a good job.”

Root is a “fantastic role model” and vastly experienced for a player in his mid-20s, said Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale, who captained Root at the county.

“Whatever level he has stepped up to, it hasn’t taken him long to adapt and he has learned very quickly. I would say that I have actually learned more from him,” added Gale.

“You learn on the job. I think we will see a different style of cricket with Joe in charge. He’s a bit of tinkerman and not afraid to think outside the box.”

Root made his England debut in 2012 and since then has scored more Test runs than any other batsman in the world.

The right-hander, a product of the Yorkshire youth set-up, was made England vice-captain in 2015 and steps up to lead after Cook resigned last week.

“I remember him as a 13-year-old, saying to the batting coach that he wanted to know what he needed to do to play for England,” added Gale. “That’s a big statement for a 13-year-old.

“He made his one-day debut for Yorkshire against Essex in 2009. He was a little lad who looked like the Milky Bar Kid and couldn’t hit the ball off the square. He’s never been overawed and that will stand him in good stead.”

Root’s appointment sees him join Australia’s Steve Smith, India’s Virat Kohli and New Zealander Kane Williamson as captain of his country.

The quartet, widely regarded as the four finest batsman in the world, occupy the top four spots in the International Cricket Council’s batting rankings.

“It’s exciting for cricket, for all of us who are supporters of the game, seeing four wonderful batsmen ply their trade and now lead their countries,” said former Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie.

The Australian told the BBC World Service: “It reminds me a little bit of when we had four wonderful all-rounders – Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev and Imran Khan.

“Now we have four high-class batsmen who are absolutely brilliant and happen to be captain of their country. It’s very exciting.”

Root’s father Matt said he was “incredibly proud” and insisted his son would not get carried away with the appointment.

“He’s taken it in his stride. He won’t get ahead of himself. His feet are firmly on the ground,” he said.

“People say his form might dip but I absolutely think he can do the job. He’s got a great team to manage.”

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