Joe Root stood down as captain on the 15th of April, following a 1-0 series defeat to the West Indies at the beginning of 'Project Restart.' With roles left void and our two most decorated bowlers left out, many felt that anything but a series win in the Caribbean would result in Root stepping down from his position.
Root retains multiple records as England captain with the most games and wins leading the side. However, those 27 wins are clouded by 26 losses under his tenor too. 5,295 runs as captain with an average of around 47 runs per innings saw the Yorkshireman flourish on his own accord under the captaincy. Form like this was written in the stars when he scored 190 runs on his debut under the role.
Individually, 2021 was one of Root’s best as he scored 1708 runs, with a gap of over 800 runs to Rohit Sharma in second place. Unfortunately though, these runs were often lonesome in comparison to the other ten players floating around the England team and this resulted in only four wins, which all shockingly came in Asia.
The time had come for Root to depart and everyone has faith in the man from Sheffield to hunt down Sir Alistair Cook’s test record of the most runs for England.
Subsequently, Ben Stokes' appointment as test match captain on the 28th of April was by no means a shock. With Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson ageing and no other real mainstays in the test team with substantial experience at the international level, Stokes was the only option for Rob Key and England, even if some people flirted with the prospect of Key picking his Kent golden boy, Zak Crawley, for the job.
Stokes was needed in 2020 in Southampton to fulfil duties as captain for a single test against the West Indies, but this sadly ended in a loss with people quietly happy with his performance as captain.
Stokes’ former role as vice-captain for England and his heroics against Australia in the Ashes and New Zealand in the World Cup final have painted him the perfect man for the role. Fingers crossed that the added pressure of captaincy doesn’t affect his performance with the bat or ball, as ‘Project Restart’ continues for English Test Cricket.