Joe Root says his time as England captain had ended in an “unhealthy relationship” after marking his return to the ranks with a match-winning hundred against New Zealand at Lord’s.
Root led England in a record 64 Tests spanning five years before resigning as skipper in April following a run of just one win in 17 Tests.
The stresses and strains of leading England during the coronavirus pandemic, allied to a run of poor results including a 4-0 Ashes drubbing in Australia and a 1-0 series loss in the Caribbean, persuaded Root he should step down, with vice-captain Ben Stokes, a close friend, taking over the reins.
Root, however, remains one of the world’s leading batsmen and his serene 115* on Sunday meant the Stokes era began with a five-wicket win over New Zealand as England went 1-0 up in a three-match series against the Test world champions.
“It had become a very unhealthy relationship, to be honest, the captaincy and me,” Man of the Match Root told reporters following his fifth Test-match century at the ‘Home of Cricket’.
“It started to really take a bad toll on my own personal health. I couldn’t leave it at the ground anymore, it was coming home.”
The 31-year-old Yorkshireman added: “It wasn’t fair on my family, on people close to me and it wasn’t fair on myself, either.
“I had thrown everything at it and I was determined to help turn this team around, but I realised over that time at home that it would have to be in a different way.”
Root said he was looking forward to playing an influential role in turning the team into a force once again on the Test stage.
“I’m very excited to do that now and to do everything I can to help Ben really turn this team around and make this team the force it should and can be.
“It got to the stage where it was time for someone else to lead that but I can try and influence it in a different role, in a different way.
“I threw absolutely everything at the role and I’m proud of the way that I tried to do that.”
© Agence France-Presse