London - Joe Root has been named as the new Test captain of England, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Monday.
Yorkshire batsman Root, previously England's vice-captain, had been
the overwhelming favourite to take over from Alastair Cook, who resigned
as Test skipper last week after a national record 59 matches in charge.
Root, who made his England debut under Cook, is now widely regarded as England's leading batsman.
"It is a huge honour to be given the England Test captaincy," the
26-year-old Root said in an ECB statement. "I feel privileged, humbled
and very excited."
The ECB added all-rounder Ben Stokes would succeed Root as vice-captain of the Test side.
Cook, England's all-time leading Test run-scorer, is set to continue
his England career, with Root also able to call upon the experience of
senior fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, as well as coach
"We have a very good group of players, and I'm looking forward to
leading them out in the summer - building on Alastair's achievements
and making the most of our talents in the years ahead," said Root.
"The senior guys in the changing room play a very influential role -
and while there's a natural progression for me, it's a huge support to
know that they are there to help and advise."
ECB director of England cricket Andrew Strauss, himself a former
England captain, added: "Joe is the right man to be our next Test
captain and I’m thrilled that he has accepted the role."
Root will have several months to prepare for his first match as
captain given England's next Test does not start until July 6, when they
face South Africa at Lord's.
England will be looking to bounce back after a difficult 2016 in Test
cricket, with Cook resigning following a 4-0 series defeat in India at
the end of last year.
Prior to the South Africa series, England's programme will consist
solely of limited overs fixtures, including June's Champions Trophy
one-day tournament on home soil.
Last week, Strauss made it clear he wanted Eoin Morgan to remain as England's one-day international and Twenty20 captain.
Root has an
impressive Test average of nearly 53 in 53 matches. He scored the first
of his 11 Test hundreds at Headingley, his Yorkshire home ground, in May
2013 and currently has a total of 4,594 Test runs, placing him third in
the International Cricket Council rankings for Test batsmen.
He has also become a mainstay of the England side in all three
international formats and concerns had been expressed about his workload
even before his appointment as Test captain.
But Strauss was in no doubt Root, whom he said had accepted
"immediately" after he was asked to be England captain last week, was
the right man for the job.
"Joe has shown a number of admirable qualities in his Test career so far," said Strauss.
"Making his debut in 2012 at the age of 21 and going on to establish
himself as one of the premier batsmen in all forms of the game in such a
short period of time demonstrates his drive, determination, cricketing
intelligence and an ability to learn that will serve him well in his new
"He is universally respected by his team mates, passionate about
driving the Test team forward and extremely excited about the prospect
of leading his country.”
Root became a father for the first time last month but flew out days
after the birth of his son Alfred to join England on their ODI tour of
He is due to travel again next week when England head to the West Indies for a three-match ODI series.