Joe Root was a tough captain.
The England defeats in Australia and Grenada, which sealed a 1-0 series loss by West Indies, left a lasting mark.
Root spoke about the impact the job had upon him, which is no surprise. Root felt so heavy that he had to carry it around. England captaincy should be accompanied by a warning.
It is difficult to give up even when it is obvious. Root resigned in April but Root is likely still grieving over what happened. It’s not enough to resign and forget.
He also reached 10,000 Test runs, the second Englishman to achieve this feat, with his wife, children, and parents present to witness it.
Root will go “miles beyond” my Test record – Cook
England wins first Test with victory by Root century
Root passes 10,000 Test runs landmark
Root was moved to tears when he left the field. This emotion is common among those who have been close to Root. It sure did for me.
It was not unusual for Root to interview me three times per week during his captaincy. Some of them were terrible experiences, especially after bad defeats.
Lord’s saw his charming smile return and it was beautiful to see.
Since he had given up the captaincy, I hadn’t spoken to him until the beginning of the Test. At that point, I just said to Root that he should make bowlers cry this summer. It was Root, and all of us, that I didn’t know would be there.
Root is, in my opinion, one of the best England batsmen since World War II. Some, like Colin Cowdrey and Peter May, I saw only on television. Geoffrey Boycott, David Gower and others were also on my field.
Root’s technical skills are what make him so great – he doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses. Root is so busy at his crease that he keeps the scoreboard ticking along. Root commands the tempo and rhythm of batting so well.
Root is now free from the captaincy, and can concentrate on scoring runs. Root can now focus on scoring runs and every record he can think of.
This is what Stokes will desire, and not just because he wants his great mate success, but also because the more Root scores, the better it’ll be for Stokes England.
Root actually said it well when Root stated that Stokes had given him so many performances as captain and now it was his turn to repay the favor.
Root and Stokes have been friends since childhood, long before they played for England. They have been together almost every major moment that has involved the England team over the past decade as they made their way through the game.
There are many similarities between them. One of these is the deep care they show for their coworkers. They look out for their team-mates and make sure they are okay.
Stokes was, for instance, celebrating his 31st Birthday on Saturday, the third night of the Test.
His wife was visiting London from the east, and his brother and mum had travelled all that way from New Zealand for his first Test as captain.
Stokes made sure Matthew Potts was with them when they went out to dinner. Stokes and Potts are Durham mates. However, they wanted to make sure that the bowler on his debut wasn’t worrying about whether he would win the Test for England.
It turned out that Potts was not required, as Root and Ben Foakes won England to a five-wicket victory.
It was a great start for Stokes and McCullum. It is expected to have a positive effect on a locker room that had not experienced victory in 17 previous matches.
You could argue that the new era is very similar to the old one, as England still relies heavily on the same players.
Potts made an impressive debut, but Root, Stokes and James Anderson were the ones England rely on.
However, you can argue that every England player will take the M1 to the second test at Trent Bridge and feel they contributed to the win.
Alex Lees and Zak Crawley shared a solid first innings stand. Ollie Pope had a great run out, and Jonny Bairstow made some outstanding slip catches. Matt Parkinson took his maiden Test wicket, and Foakes was part of a match-winning team with Root.
There were moments when England should have won comfortably, and there were others when they should lose.
They stood up when it was really important. On the third day, they had to beat New Zealand. They had to dig deep to finish a tough run-chase.
We all know that England has a long way to go and one win is not enough.
However, winning the Test is better than losing it, and that feeling should be felt by all of English cricket, not just the fans.