England Test captain Ben Stokes said he is happy for Joe Root, saying that the former captain is feeling like a teenager again without having the burden of leading the men’s Test team. Stokes expressed delight that Root is able to score runs, like always, but without having to think about much else.
Joe Root hit a match-winning hundred in the first Test of a 3-match Test series at Lord’s, leading England’s fourth innings chase of 277 from the front. Root scored an unbeaten 115 as he also completed 10,000 runs in the longest format of the game during the course of his match-winning knock.
Notably, Root quit captaincy earlier this year, conceding that the role had begun to have an “unhealthy effect” on him. Root had vouched to continue as captain despite England losing 1-0 in a 3-Test series in West Indies in March. However, he changed his decision and gave up the role even as England made sweeping changes to the support staff of the men’s Test team which had won only 1 of its last 17 Tests before Stokes took over.
Stokes, speaking to Sky Sports on the morning of the 2nd Test in Nottingham, lauded Root for saying that captaincy affected him on a personal level.
“I’m sure everybody knows, being England captain is more than just what you do out on the field. You can end up taking it home and it can affect your personal situation – which Joe was very brave to say,” Stokes said.
“This week, without that added pressure of being captain, it was almost like Joe was 18 again. And I’m pretty sure it won’t be long till he’s snipping people’s socks again.
“It’s great to see Joe the way that he is. It’s great that he doesn’t have that mountain of added pressure of being captain on his shoulders. And the one thing Joe always does is score runs,” he added.
STOKES READY FOR UPS AND DOWNS
Ben Stokes’s stint as the captain began on a fine note with England going 1-0 up against the world Test champions. Stokes and newly-appointed head coach Brendon McCullum are expected to lead England Test cricket’s revival but the skipper said it’s going to be a long road with ups and downs.
“First time out winning a series would obviously be good,” Stokes added.
“It’s going to be a long road with the way that we have changed mindset. I know there’s going to be some ups and some downs. We’re on a big up after winning last week, but we’ve just got to try and take everything as it comes, because who knows what this week will have in store for us.”
England named an unchanged XI for the 2nd Test, starting Friday but New Zealand will be without their captain Kane Williamson, who was ruled out after testing positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the match.