CRICKET: Joe Root wants to captain England with a smile on his face

Joe Root
Joe Root
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Joe Root has promised to captain England with a smile on his face - because he wants people to enjoy watching his Test team win.

Root will stay true to the instinctive approach which has made him one of the world’s best batsmen, and the only logical choice as Alastair Cook’s successor.

Asked in his first press conference as captain if there is any reason why he should change, he said: “I don’t think so.

“You have 10 to 15 years to enjoy being at the pinnacle of the sport - and the more I can get that across to the lads, the better.

“That’s always been a big part of why I want to play - to enjoy the sport.”

It will help, of course, if England can be successful.

“I’d like to be a captain that wins, is tough to play against, and hope we’ll play cricket that is enjoyable to watch.

“That is something that excites me. It should be entertaining Test cricket.”

Asked about the kind of captain he’d be, Root said: “I just want to be very natural, instinctive and find something that naturally works.

“It’s the biggest honour in the game - simple as that.”

England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss has spelled out the qualities which meant Root stood out for the top job.

With an Ashes looming next winter, Strauss is confident the Yorkshireman will prove his mettle.

“What is interesting with all players is how they handle high-pressure situations.

“That’s what you need from a captain - first day of an Ashes series, ‘can you lead in the right way?’

“I think Joe’s got that in abundance - that stomach for the fight and that ability to soak up pressure and come out fighting.”

New father Root certainly knew his mind when Strauss rang him last weekend, even though he could have been forgiven for having his concentration elsewhere at the vital moment.

“I was actually changing [my son] Alfie at the time, which was quite a strange dynamic.

“I remember getting the call and him saying ‘it’s the one call you get once in your life where we’d like to offer you the captaincy’.

“’If you’d like a bit of time to think about it ...’ but straight away I said ‘No, I’m pretty sure I want to do this!”.