England batsman Joe Root has been named as the country's new Test captain, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Monday. Previously England's vice-captain, Root had been the overwhelming favourite to replace Alastair Cook ever since the latter resigned as Test skipper after a national record 59 matches in charge last week. Root, who made his England debut under Cook, is now widely regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world. "I feel privileged, humbled and very excited," he said after his elevation.
"It is a huge honour to be given the England Test captaincy," the 26-year-old Root said in an ECB statement.
Root has played in 53 Test matches after making his debut in December 2012. He has 4594 runs to his name with an average of 52.80.
The ECB added all-rounder Ben Stokes would succeed Root as vice-captain of the Test side.
Cook, England's all-time leading Test run-scorer, is set to continue his career in the five-day game, with Root also able to call upon the experience of senior fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, as well as coach Trevor Bayliss and assistant Paul Farbrace.
"We have a very good group of players, and I'm looking forward to leading them out in the summer -- building on Alastair's achievements and making the most of our talents in the years ahead," said Root.
"The senior guys in the changing room play a very influential role - and while there's a natural progression for me, it's a huge support to know that they are there to help and advise."
ECB director of England cricket Andrew Strauss, himself a former England captain, added: "Joe is the right man to be our next Test Captain and I’m thrilled that he has accepted the role."
"Joe has shown a number of admirable qualities in his Test career so far," said Strauss.
"Making his debut in 2012 at the age of 21 and going on to establish himself as one of the premier batsmen in all forms of the game in such a short period of time demonstrates his drive, determination, cricketing intelligence and an ability to learn that will serve him well in his new role.
"He is universally respected by his team mates, passionate about driving the Test team forward and extremely excited about the prospect of leading his country.”
Root became a father for the first time last month but flew out days after the birth of his son Alfred to join England on their ODI tour of India.
He is due to travel again next week when England head to the West Indies for a three-match ODI series.
(With inputs from AFP)