Root steps down: Stokes, Broad and the candidates to take over as England Test captain

By Sports Desk April 15, 2022

One argument for not removing Joe Root as England Test captain was the seeming lack of credible replacements to take over the responsibility.

Well, that became a none issue on Good Friday when it was announced Root had stood down from the position after winning 27 Test matches as skipper – a record for an England captain.

His tenure came under question after England failed to win in five straight series and now the hunt is on for the Yorkshireman's successor.

Stats Perform have evaluated the most likely candidates to do so.

BEN STOKES

Already England's vice-captain and surely the top replacement to fill the void. It is hard to look beyond Stokes, not least because – aside from Root – he is about the only shoo-in for the Test side. So often England's saviour, the star all-rounder has 5,061 runs and 174 wickets from 79 Tests (averaging 35.89 with the bat, and 32.12 with the ball). A recent four-month hiatus, in which Stokes cited mental health reasons, may raise questions as to whether he will want to take on the job, but he certainly appears to be the frontrunner.

JOS BUTTLER

Buttler's main issue, like so many in the red-ball team, is that his place in the side is far from assured. Having said that, Buttler has been a big part of the leadership team in white-ball cricket and the attack-minded wicketkeeper-batsman may thrive if given the opportunity to lead his country in the five-day game. With 2,907 runs and a couple of Test centuries to his name, Buttler could be the one England turn to next.

STUART BROAD

The decision to drop Broad and James Anderson – the former second only to the latter in England's list of all-time leading Test wicket takers – from the recent series in the West Indies was met with complete bemusement. Admittedly, at the age of 35 Broad is in the twilight of his Test career but he could certainly provide a good short-term option until a more viable solution emerges. He has previously captained England in the T20 format too.

RORY BURNS

Recently dropped from the Test team, Burns is maybe more of an outside shot but perhaps with the added responsibility of captaincy he could cement a place in the team. Burns has proved his cricketing nous by leading Surrey to the County Championship in 2018. Burns would need to start scoring consistent runs at the top of the order, though.

JONNY BAIRSTOW

Bairstow has no shortage of grit and desire. Moreover, he was the only England player to score a century in the Ashes debacle and also made a valiant hundred in the first Test against the Windies, which helped secure a draw in that match. However, Bairstow often finds himself in a battle to even make the team. Ollie Pope's emergence means he is not a shoo-in as a middle-order batman, while he is up against Buttler and Ben Foakes to play wicketkeeper.

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