Joe Root’s ascension to the England cricket throne moved a step closer yesterday when Alastair Cook, the current Test skipper, confirmed he was resigning from the post.
“It’s a sad day personally, in many ways,” admitted Cook, who led England 59 times.
But it’s also the start of a new era, one widely expected to have Cook’s vice-captain and England’s vice-captain right at the very top.
It is perhaps unfair to say Root is the only real candidate to take over, but he is the obvious one; Ben Stokes, likely to be Root’s vice-captain, perhaps his only real rival.
The 26-year-old Sheffield Collegiate man has learned on the job as No.2 for almost two years and Cook himself, in an emotional interview after England’s 4-0 series defeat in India before Christmas, admitted Root is ready to step up to the top job.
What kind of captain will he be? It’s difficult to say. The man himself admits he doesn’t know, either, although he’d like to think he’ll be aggressive yet relaxed.One imagines he wasn’t so relaxed the first time he captained Yorkshire’s Championship side - they lost to Middlesex, who chased down over 400, and Root was nicknamed ‘Craptain’ by teammates - but the boy from Dore won’t be fazed.
He’s lived with the ‘Future England Captain’ tag since he was a young boy and now, at 26 and a father himself, it seems his time has finally arrived.