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Joe Root. Picture: AAP via REUTERS/DAVE HUNT
Joe Root. Picture: AAP via REUTERS/DAVE HUNT

The England Test captaincy had taken a toll on his personal health, a relieved Joe Root said after he guided his side to a memorable five-wicket win against New Zealand on Sunday in his first match since relinquishing the role.

The 31-year-old stepped down as skipper in the aftermath of England’s 1-0 series defeat in the Caribbean in March, which came on the heels of a disastrous 4-0 loss against Australia in the Ashes.

“It had become a very unhealthy relationship, to be honest — the captaincy and me,” Root told reporters after his unbeaten 115 helped England to chase down 277 at Lord’s and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

“It started to really take a bad toll on my personal health. I couldn’t leave it at the ground anymore; it was coming home. It wasn’t fair on my family, on people close to me, and it wasn’t fair on myself either.”

Root, who was been replaced by Ben Stokes, led England in 64 Tests, winning 27 and losing 26 during his five-year tenure. The Yorkshire batsman said he is keen to help Stokes succeed in his new role and make England a Test force again.

“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,” added Root, who also reached 10,000 Test runs on Sunday.

Root is just the second England player after former teammate Alastair Cook to reach the milestone. Cook, who is fifth in Test cricket’s list of all-time leading run scorers with 12,472 runs, said Root will surpass him.

“He is a pleasure to watch, the most complete England batsman I have seen,” Cook told the BBC on Monday.

“The person who could play the most incredible innings was Kevin Pietersen, but for the most complete batsman in all three forms, it’s Root. His consistency is incredible. Barring injury, he’ll go miles past my record.”

The second Test gets under way at Trent Bridge on Friday.



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