Root: ‘I want our team to be tough’

“I think with the group of players we’ve got now, it’s a great opportunity to take the team to the next level”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Having been bestowed with the honour of being named England’s new Test captain, Joe Root has made it clear that he wants to transform the national team into a tougher side that is always hungry for victory.

Root succeeded Alastair Cook as skipper and admitted that the decision was a “no-brainer”.

But, while he lauded Cook for the job he did during his time at the helm, the 26-year-old wants the Test team to set sail in a different direction.

“I’m extremely proud and privileged to get the opportunity to lead this group of players,” he told Sky Sports. “It was a no-brainer that I was always going to say yes to the job and I am now just really looking forward to all the challenges that lie ahead.

“I like to think I’ll be quite instinctive as a leader. I want our team to be tough, and always be looking to win.

“I want us to be an enjoyable side to watch. You see the way that the one-day side has lifted over the last year or so – the way the guys have gone about playing their cricket – that’s something I want to bring to the Test arena as well.

“We’ve done some very special things as a Test team over the last five years or so, and Cooky has been a fantastic leader, but I think with the group of players we’ve got now, it’s a great opportunity to take the team to the next level.

“Cooky sent me a lovely message when he found out I was going to take on the role. I’m really looking forward to working with him – he’s still going to play a massive part of our team moving forward.”

The Dore native also brushed aside concerns about the Test captaincy affecting his form with the bat as he sees no reason why he cannot emulate the sensational run-scoring feats India captain Virat Kohli, Australia skipper Steve Smith and New Zealand’s leader Kane Williamson have pulled off thus far.

“The way I approach my batting in practice, my preparation, won’t change,” he said. “It’s important I go about things in exactly the same way.

“I actually see it as an opportunity to take my game to the next level. We’ve seen guys in the sport, like Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, who have actually benefited from the captaincy.

“That’s a great driver and motivator for me to take that added responsibility and take my game forward. Hopefully I can go on and do that.

“There will be tough times that lie ahead, but it just means even more so to make the most of the good periods. I’m not daunted by the job. I’m excited by the new opportunities it brings.”

Root also admitted that Ben Stokes was the right candidate to be appointed vice-captain as the all-rounder wears his heart on his sleeve and has is always committed to giving his best in times both good and bad.

“He is very passionate,” Root said about Stokes. “You can see that already in what he has said about being given the role. He is desperate to show how much it means for him to play for England.

“When we bat together, we generally complement each other pretty well in the way we go about things, and I think that will be very similar in the way we lead this team.

“He is obviously very fiery, and can be quite in your face, but I think that will work well alongside me.”

Leave a Reply