Great Bets

Helping You Find Your Next Bet

Joe Root Stands Down as England Captain – The Stats Say He Will Be Sorely Missed

Joe Root batting
Brian Minkoff-London Pixels, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After a torrid tour of the Caribbean, Joe Root has taken the decision to step down as captain of England’s test cricket team.

The 0-1 loss to the West Indies followed a 0-4 humbling in the Ashes, and Root has admitted the ‘toll it has taken’ has forced him to hand over the reins of captaincy.

“After returning from the Caribbean tour and having time to reflect, I have decided to step down,” the 31-year-old has confirmed. “It has been the most challenging decision I have had to make in my career, but having discussed this with my family and those closest to me, I know the timing is right.

“I have loved leading my country, but recently it’s hit home how much of a toll it has taken on me and the impact it has had on me away from the game.”

Root captained England in more test matches than any other skipper, and is also the winning-most leader of the team in history….perhaps aided by the length of his stint in charge.

The good news is that he remains a world-class batsman, and has confirmed he will be available for selection for the next test series against New Zealand in June. “I am excited to continue representing the [team] and producing performances that will enable the team to succeed,” Root said.

Is Root England’s Best Ever Captain?

Joe Root
Credit: Ben Sutherland via flickr

With 27 wins as test captain, Root can lay claim to being the best England captain in history.

Of course, there are plenty of caveats to that, and the fact that he has captained England in more tests than any other person is just one of the more obvious.

The test side plays more games these days than in years gone by, and there are some pretty weak outfits currently on the ICC rotation – series’ against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are, with all the will in the world, comfortable.

One interesting measure of success is win ratio, and again Root comes out well – although not as the best England captain for those with 20 or more games on their CV.

Captain No. of Tests No. of Wins Win %
Mike Brierley 31 18 58.06%
Michael Vaughan 51 26 50.98%
Peter May 41 20 48.78%
Andrew Strauss 50 24 48.00%
Len Hutton 23 11 47.83%
Joe Root 64 27 42.18%
Alistair Cook 59 24 40.67%
Nasser Hussain 45 17 37.77%

So revered was Brierley by his peers, he was persuaded to put his leadership qualities down in ink with his book ‘The Art of Captaincy’. A psycho-analyst these days, Brierley isn’t afraid to speak his mind – whether that is helpful to captaincy remains to be seen – and once called out Winston Churchill’s leadership.

Michael Vaughan, who oversaw the famous Ashes victory in 2005, had an outstanding team to call upon – that always helps a captain improve their win ratio.

As for Root, it seems pretty obvious that the ECB have given less emphasis to test cricket than they have the white ball game in recent times….to their – and their former captain’s – detriment.