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Ben Stokes leads tributes as Joe Root resigns as England Test captain

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ngland all-rounder Ben Stokes has paid tribute to teammate Joe Root after the Yorkshire batter stepped down as men’s Test captain on Friday.

Root announced his resignation off the back of winter series defeats to Australia and West Indies, part of a dismal run of just one win in 17 Tests.

Stokes and Root are close friends off the field and the Durham star would appear to be the most obvious successor amid a relative dearth of options.

He wrote on Instagram: “Been a great ride with you my friend. Watching one of my great mates lead us all out on to the field was a privilege. You have given everything to English cricket and we all want to say thank you for your sacrifices and hard work.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan, a mentor to Root at Yorkshire, had said on a recent BBC radio programme that he would tell Root to step down were he to call for advice.

On Friday morning, he tweeted: ”He gave it everything with very little support for the red ball team under his watch… then he had to deal with Covid times… he still is and will (be) the game’s best role model for many many years… now enjoy being the senior player for many more seasons.”

Another former skipper Michael Atherton appeared on Sky Sports News to discuss Root’s departure on Friday.

“I’m not surprised,” he said. “It had got to a stage at the end of the Ashes, even before the West Indies tour, where it was pretty clear change was needed.

“There comes a moment in every England captain’s life where you realise you’ve given it all and you can’t do anymore.

“I think there was a particular moment in the Grenada Test where Ben Foakes was run out, the England team were sliding out and the cameras panned in on Joe Root on the England balcony with a look of despair and that realisation came to him he should really have stepped down at the end of the Ashes given how that Tour had gone.

“They tried to insulate his captaincy by getting rid of the coach Chris Silverwood and managing director and leaving some senior players, but I think it was pretty evident Joe had come to the end of the road.”

Former England wicketkeeper Matt Prior added: “Sometimes in sport results & performances (good & bad) can get in the way of peoples judgement of the actual person.

“[Joe Root] is a great human being first & foremost and I can’t imagine how hard a decision this has been for him. Congrats on all you did as England captain”

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