After hitting a match-winning century in the first England vs New Zealand Test at Lord’s on Sunday, Joe Root opened up about his “unhealthy relationship” with Test captaincy. Root had stepped down as England’s skipper in the longest format following series defeats in the Ashes in Australia and then away to the West Indies. Ben Stokes was appointed his successor and Root played a big role in helping the all-rounder get off to a winning start in his captaincy stint in the series against New Zealand.
“It had become a very unhealthy relationship to be honest, the captaincy and me,” Root was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo after the match.
“It started to really take a bad toll on my own personal health. I couldn’t leave it at the ground any more, it was coming home. It wasn’t fair on my family, on people close to me, and it wasn’t fair on myself either,” he said.
“I had thrown everything at it and I was determined to help turn this team around but I realised over that time at home that it would have to be in a different way,” Root said.
“I’m very excited to do that now and to do everything I can to help Ben really turn this team around and make this team the force it should and can be.”
Speaking further about his captaincy, Root said: “I obviously tried as much as I could, but I think I was unaware of how much it was grabbing hold of me. I just needed to make the decision, and I knew it was the right thing to do. I felt like a big weight had been lifted and I immediately felt a lot better.”
“As hard as it was, obviously it’s been a huge privilege and something that I’m extremely proud to have done, but it’s time for a new phase in my career. And it’s one that I’m very much looking forward to, seeing one of my best mates now take this team forward and start in a way that he has,” he said.
Root, of course, began this “new phase” with a bang, scoring an unbeaten 115 to help England chase a target of 277 to win the first Test against New Zealand. In the process, he also became only the second Englishman to reach 10,000 Test runs.
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