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Numbers that matter: Joe Root’s Test captaincy

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Joe Root announced that he would step down as the England cricket team’s Test captain on Friday, April 15.

The decision comes as a result of England’s failure to win any Test so far in 2022 and just a solitary win in 17 matches since February 2021. England’s recent Test assignment saw them lose the three-match Test series in West Indies 1-0 after a 4-0 humbling in the Ashes 2021-22 against Australia.

Joe Root took over the England Test captaincy from Alastair Cook in 2017, and secured a win in his maiden Test assignment against South Africa at home. He departs with England currently rock-bottom in the ICC World Test Championship 2021-2023.

"After returning from the Caribbean tour and having time to reflect, I have decided to step down as England's men's Test captain," Joe Root said.

"It has been the most challenging decision I have had to make in my career but having discussed this with my family and those closest to me, I know the timing is right,” he added.

Joe Root Test captaincy record

Since assuming the Test captaincy in 2017, Joe Root has led England in 64 Tests, winning 27 games and losing 26. Root steps down with the most wins and most matches amongst former England Test captains.

Most Test wins as England captain

Player Matches Win Loss Draw
Joe Root 64 27 26 11
Michael Vaughan 51 26 11 14
Andrew Strauss 50 24 11 15
Alastair Cook 59 24 22 13
Peter May 41 20 10 11
Mike Brearley 31 18 4 9
Nasser Hussain 45 17 15 13
Michael Atherton 54 13 21 20
Ray Illingworth 31 12 5 14
Len Hutton 23 11 4 8

Under Joe Root’s captaincy, England have won eight of 19 bilateral Test series and suffered nine defeats. At home, England have lost just two Test series while emerging victorious in five.

One of the greatest highs of the Joe Root Test captaincy came in his debut away Test assignment in 2018. Touring Sri Lanka, England registered a 3-0 win in the Asian country and Root became the first English captain since Ted Dexter (vs New Zealand, 1962/63) to secure a whitewash in a series of three matches or more away from home.

Another of Root’s positive outings as Test captain was in the 2018 India tour of England, where his side claimed four wins in five matches against a Virat Kohli-led side that entered the five-game affair as the top-ranked Test team in the world.

Of late, Joe Root’s Test captaincy came under scrutiny as his team could only muster one win since February 2021 which has included five consecutive series defeats - including home and away Test series losses to India.

Joe Root Ashes record as Test captain

Although Root has relinquished his England Test captaincy with the most wins, his major regret will be failing to register an Ashes win as Test skipper in Australia. In three Ashes, Root’s England side has only won two matches which came in 2019.

The recent setback in the Ashes 2021-22, where England lost 4-0, intensified calls for Joe Root to step down as England captain.

Series Matches Win Loss Draw
The Ashes 2017-18 5 0 4 1
The Ashes 2019 5 2 2 1
The Ashes 2021-22 5 0 4 1

Author: William Paul

Featured photo: AFP / PAUL ELLIS

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