Root’s resignation marks a sad day for cricket

It’s a sad day for English cricket that a player, team-mate and person as good as Joe Root has had to make this decision.

Root is one of England’s greatest ever batters, arguably the greatest. Perhaps even more importantly, he is exactly the kind of person who should have succeeded as England captain.

I’m incredibly disappointed that somebody of his ilk has had to stand down when he’s been failed by his superiors.

The demise of the England Test team is not Joe Root’s fault. The issue is at St Johns’ Wood, with the administrators.

The system is faulty.

There have been times during Root’s captaincy when it looked like he might be onto something. They won 3-1 in South Africa just over two years ago and then won back-to-back series at home in the summer of 2020.

Ultimately, though, for all the good work he was doing behind the scenes, the calibre of player that the system was producing was never going to be enough for his captaincy to be a success.

Playing on after captaincy is difficult

I feel incredibly sorry for Root, because I know what a difficult situation he is going to be in now.

From personal experience, losing the job as captain and becoming a soldier again is an awkward transition.

It might be even more difficult for him, because whoever takes on the captaincy is bound not to have the experience and pedigree to do the job that he does.

I wish him well and I hope he can settle in to life as a normal team player. Things are not about to get loads better for the team, so his presence as a batter and leader will still be vital.

As for his replacement…who knows?

The first thing England had to do is appoint a new Managing Director. In Rob Key, they've done well there.

The Managing Director is the man to start the red-ball reset and will also appoint the new captain to fit his vision.

I wrote last time that I think Key would be the visionary appointment the ECB would do well to make.

In terms of captains, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious choice.

Ben Stokes may be the leading candidate as an experienced player who will surely start the summer in the side, but he is already English cricket’s Superman.

There are issues with every other name that you could think of.

I stress again, though, that the appointment of the next Test captain is far from the most important decision English cricket will make over the next few weeks.

A new captain has no chance until the system is radically changed from the top.

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