LONDON, (Reuters) – Joe Root does not admit to being a natural leader but England’s new test captain says the time spent as Alastair Cook’s understudy has groomed him for the responsibility.
The elegant right-hander has established himself as one of the premier batsmen of his generation across all formats, putting him among such luminaries as India’s Virat Kohli and New Zealander Kane Williamson.
The 26-year-old can also expect to take on the illustrious duo in tactical battles after joining them as a test captain of their respective national sides, making his debut in the role in England’s home series against South Africa starting on July 6.
“I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a natural leader but becoming more senior within the side and being vice-captain over the last few years will definitely help in that respect,” England’s batting mainstay told Sky Sports.
While he can always draw on Cook’s experience after spending four years in an England side led by the Essex opener, Root is also keen to possess the grit of Nasser Hussain and the positive leadership of Michael Vaughan.
“A balance of those two and someone like Mike Brearley… the way he was able to manage so many big characters, all in one dressing room, and get the best out of them, turn a series around against Australia (in 1981)…” he said.
As a leader, the Yorkshireman said, he would be thorough in preparation but would always trust his instinct.
“I want it to be quite natural, not have all these grand plans in place and then something change or not go to plan and then feel like you’re back to square one. I want to be quite instinctive with it from the start.
“I think (being instinctive) has been one of my big strengths as a player, as a batsman, and I think it would be silly not to go with something that has served me so well in other departments.”
Root has inherited a test side teeming with match-winners and believes all-rounder Ben Stokes will prove vital to England’s progress.
“He is going to play a massive role,” Root said of his deputy. “You’ve seen how his cricket has developed over the last year or so and he is the sort of person, the more you give him, the more you get from him.
“I think it’s great that he’s got this chance to become a bit more of a leader in the dressing room, as vice-captain.
“So he, along with the other senior guys like Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Cooky, obviously, will be massive for us moving forward,” Root added.