Joe Root’s future as England captain remains uncertain

Joe Root says he wants to continue as England captain despite a series defeat to the West Indies.

England are yet to win in 2022 and have lost four test series in a row, including a comprehensive defeat to Australia in the Ashes.

The West Indies tour was billed as project reset with new players being blooded into the side, but it provided more questions than answers as England slumped to a ten wicket defeat in the final test of the series.

Root has now captained England more times than any other player in history, but calls for Root to step down have increased since the tour, including from former captain Michael Vaughan.

Joe Root questioned on his England future following defeat to the West Indies

Dan Jadzevics, cricket expert and YouTuber, believes Root should remain as captain but only because of the lack of alternative candidates.

Jadzevics said: “I don’t necessarily like the idea of Joe Root continuing as captain, after the couple of years that we have had, he probably should step aside.

“I rather he stepped aside rather than pushed out because I think he is fantastic as a cricketer. 

“But I don’t know where else we look. I’d love to have that magic answer, but I just don’t know.

Joe Root won eight test matches in 2018 but none in 2022

Joe Root is yet to win a test match in 2022, losing two and drawing three matches and that is why his position is being question

However, his overall record as captain is good with 2018 and 2020 his stand out years.

The data shows that Root won the highest number of test matches per calendar year in 2018 with eight wins, however 2020 was his best in terms of win percentage with an 80% win record.

Root has the record for captaining England for the most amount of test matches Data source: ESPN Cricinfo
Root’s performance as captain has deteriorated since 2020 Data Source: ESPNcricinfo

The data below shows that Root’s record is good compared to the previous six captains.

The Yorkshireman has a better win percentage than predecessor Alistair Cook who took England to a number one test ranking.

Root also has more wins than any of the previous six full time captains with 27, one more than Michael Vaughan.

However, Vaughan has a better win percentage of 50.98% compared to Root’s at 42.18%. Andrew Strauss also has a better win percentage of 48%.

Root’s win percentage is bettered by Vaughan and Strauss Data Source: ESPNcricinfo

Though calls for Root to step down have increased, there doesn’t appear to be a standout choice to replace him, an uncommon problem for the ECB to have.

Since Michael Atherton, England have always had a clear candidate to replace the existing captain, a standout player ready to take on the added responsibilities of the position.

Vice captain Ben Stokes would be the most obvious choice to replace Root and has stepped in previously in 2020.

But the allrounder has suffered from injuries and as England’s go to man with bat and ball it could be too much for one man to take on.

Jadzevics added: “Ben Stokes would be the obvious other candidate, but we’ve just seen in the last week that he’s got injured and it’s unclear how much he can play this summer.

“At that point, Root is the only other guy we can say well he’s going to be there every week.”

The team head into a tough summer seemingly in disarray, with fixtures scheduled against South Africa, New Zealand and India.

Jadzevics said: “It’s important to not be completely pessimistic about the summer. I think there are games there we can win assuming we don’t produce pitches designed for us to win in Australia.

“If we lose all six I don’t see Root staying but then the question of who replaces him comes back round.

“He’s the best player we’ve got by some distance and there isn’t really anyone else that you would say was definitely going to be there.”

Root continues to perform with the bat scoring eight centuries since the start of 2021 Data source: ESPNCricinfo

Despite England’s poor record over the last year and a half, Root’s form with the bat has hit new heights.

Last year the Yorkshireman hit six hundreds including two double hundreds against Sri Lanka and India. 

Root hit two hundreds against the West Indies earlier this year as he carried over the form from 2021. 

Feature image credit: Ben Sutherland via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 license

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