England legend Michael Vaughan has backed Sheffield’s Joe Root to become the next England captain - and believes the honour could come sooner rather than later for his protégé.
Root, who came through the ranks at Vaughan’s former club Sheffield Collegiate, has established himself as a key member of the England Test side after making his debut in India back in 2012.
And Vaughan, who led England to Ashes glory in 2005 before forging a successful career in broadcasting, believes the 23-year-old will one day inherit the captaincy from Alastair Cook - and insists it could even come within the next year.
“I get frustrated with English sport, and cricket in particular, because they’re always wondering what could go wrong,” Vaughan said.
“Why not look at what could go right? Joe will become England captain one day, and it could come sooner rather than later - especially if England have a disastrous World Cup.
“England have 17 Test matches in the space of nine months, so there is an enormous amount of pressure on Alastair, to open the batting and captain against the likes of the West Indies, New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan.
“Joe gets the game, he’s a leader - and he scores runs, and wins games for England.
“I used to play at Collegiate with Joe’s dad, Matt, and he and his brother Billy would play on the outfield.
“Billy was by far the most talented at the time - he could bowl leg spin, field, dive, bat left and right handed... he could emulate anyone. But everyone at Collegiate used to mock me because I saw Joe and told everyone, ‘he’s the one’. You could see he had this stubbornness about him, even at such a young age, and a determination to always better himself.”
Vaughan sees similarities between Root and Graeme Smith, who became skipper of South Africa aged just 21 and won more Test matches as captain than any other in cricket history.
“Graeme was younger than Joe when he got the job, but South Africa didn’t worry about that and look how that turned out,” Vaughan added.
“England have gone through two years of turmoil and I think it’ll come for Joe in around a year, after the Ashes. He has enough about him to cope with it, and I wouldn’t be concerned if he got the job tomorrow.”
Vaughan would pair Root with Jason Gillespie, the coach who has led Yorkshire to the County Championship title this year: “Dizzy has been a revolution,” Vaughan said, “and he’d be ideal for England, alongside someone like Paul Collingwood. But for Yorkshire’s sake, I hope he doesn’t - they’ve got a tremendous team and the challenge now is to emulate the team of the 1960s and dominate the county game for a decade.”