Joe Root hails Ben Stokes as leader in ‘every possible way’ as England make short work of South Africa

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Joe Root has heaped praise on his successor Ben Stokes at the end of his first summer in charge of England’s Test team – and promised the team will not be “slowing down”.

England resumed needing just 33 runs on the final day of the series against South Africa, making short work of it on Tuesday morning in just 25 minutes.

Stokes has led from the front, with an average of 41 with the bat and 26 with the ball, as well as some inventive captaincy.

“It’s been incredible, great fun to be a part of, great fun to play the style of cricket we have, and to get back to winning ways as well,” Root, who resigned as captain in April, told Sky.

"I am absolutely thrilled for him [Stokes]. He has been awesome. He’s galvanised the team really well, been really clear with his messaging. He leads by example on the field, doesn’t just put in performances with skill and fitness, it takes something more than that to produce 10 over spells to break things open when the team really needs it, as well as scoring big hundreds.

“He’s led in every way possible this summer. It’s been a real joy to watch him take to that position like a duck to water.”

Root believes that England will continue to play the expansive, attacking cricket that has become their trademark this summer, with a mantra to always take the positive option.

“Whether it was needed it or not, I think it’s been good for the game, it’s good for Test cricket,” he said. “It’s great the response we’ve had from the people watching. One thing’s for sure we won’t be slowing down. We want to keep going and playing in the manner we have done and better it.”

Root had an excellent start to the summer, making three centuries in four matches, before a quieter series against South Africa on pitches he described as “trickier”.