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‘It cost me my life…I could see myself as a SHADOW of the person I want to be’: Joe Root reveals he stepped down as England Test skipper due to the effect the captaincy had on his family after the defeat in the West Indies
- Joe Root captained the England Test in 2017 with a record 27 wins
- But he also suffered 26 losses and his side was beaten twice in Australia
- The 31-year-old has revealed he realized time was up after the West Indies defeat
- Root admits he’s happy to hand over the captain’s armband to Ben Stokes this year
Joe Root has revealed that he decided to step down as England Test captain when he noted the negative effect on his family, claiming the job ‘took the life out of me’.
Root became skipper in February 2017, taking the most wins of all England Test captains (27), but also suffering more defeats (26) than any of his compatriots.
The 31-year-old suffered two damaging Ashes defeats in Australia – the most recent of which happened last winter – but the nail in the coffin came after England came home from a dire defeat in the West Indies.
Joe Root (center) says he stepped down as England test captain because of the impact it had on his family
The 31-year-old has revealed that he realized his time was up after the series’ defeat in the West Indies
Speaking on the Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club podcast ahead of next week’s decisive Test against South Africa at the Oval, Root claims the role made him a “shadow” of who he wanted to be because of the influence it had on his wife and two children, Alfie and Isabella.
“The last few years it really cost me my life. And it has taken its toll,” he said.
“It was the right decision for the group in the first place, but also for me personally, I was not myself.
“I came home from series and couldn’t switch off or be away from my family. And I could see myself as a shadow of the person I want to be.
He said the role he held for over four years made him a “shadow” of who he wanted to be
“I think sometimes you have to be big enough to understand that it’s time to move on and time for someone else to take that great honour.
“It was when I got home from the West Indian tour. I think it’s been a long time coming. I just didn’t want to believe it. And I think if you talk about not being there and it got to a point where I started noticing it and I could see the effect it had on not just kids but Carrie, my wife and those around me, it just wasn’t fair to those guys.’
Root admitted he was eager to try and turn England’s dismal record, which ultimately resulted in a 17-Test win after a defeat in Grenada.
But after victories over New Zealand and India already this summer, the Yorkshire star is pleased he made the right decision to hand over the reins to Ben Stokes.
Root is pleased he made the right decision to hand over the reins to Ben Stokes
“Out there (West Indies), I was desperate to turn things around. To come back to England, look at things with fresh eyes, but I’m so glad we did things the way we did.
“And I spoke to Ben personally, as my vice-captain and probably best friend in the group first, and for a long time before someone else. And then it was such a relief when I talked to family and got that out of my head.’
As Root struggled with the captaincy, his at bat consistency went to another level in a record-breaking 2021.
He amassed 1,708 runs – the third highest ever for a men’s player in a calendar year – in 15 test matches at an unbelievable 61 average, also becoming England’s all-time points scorer in all formats in the process.
Root collected 1,708 runs in 2021 – the third-highest total ever in a calendar year by a male player
Many have now backed him up to beat Sachin Tendulkar’s record, and Root admits he felt more comfortable hitting punches during those periods.
“That was my quiet time, if you will,” he added.
“It’s just you, you don’t have to think about anything but look at the ball. And the longer I stayed there, the more peaceful it was.
“And the fewer things I had on my mind and the more control you have over things.”