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Root backs Cook to 'smash every record'

16 February 2017

Cook has been freed of the responsibilities of captain after standing down from the role // Getty

New skipper believes his predecessor is well placed to become Test cricket's all-time leading run-scorer

England's new Test captain Joe Root wants predecessor Alastair Cook to "smash every record going" now he's been freed from the responsibility of leadership.

Wednesday saw former vice-captain Root, two days on from his appointment as Cook's successor, outline his hopes for the side.

One of them was to see Cook, already England's leading Test run-scorer, rediscover his best form with the bat.

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Cook managed seven hundreds in his first 11 Tests as skipper, but only five in his last 48.

All the nine batsmen who've scored more than Cook's 11,057 Test runs, however, including all-time record-leader Sachin Tendulkar of India (15,921 runs) have retired.

Opening batsman Cook, 32, intends to continue his England career and a delighted Root, speaking at his Headingley home ground, said: “It's going to be a great help, having that experience and advice around the dressing room. 

"I think he’s looking forward to the opportunity to just go and bat, hopefully he's going to smash every record going.

"It would be nice to see him just enjoy his batting and go on and break every record going."

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As for his leadership style, 26-year-old Root, said simply: "I like to think I'll be able to put my stamp on things and do things my way". 

Root has little senior captaincy experience, with just a handful of matches as stand-in Yorkshire skipper behind him.

But he has plenty of time to ease himself into his new role as England's next Test is not until their July series opener against South Africa at Lord's.

For the time being, the focus for England, who've lost six of their last eight Tests, is on limited-overs cricket, particularly June's 50-over Champions Trophy tournament on home soil.

Root is a senior batsman in all formats for England but Eoin Morgan will remain the side's captain in white-ball cricket.

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"I think the beauty of the position right now is I have plenty of time to think about that," Root said. "I'd like to think I'd be quite instinctive, I want us to always look to win and I want us to be a tough side to play against.

"I think it would be silly of me not to speak to people who have been in the position before ... like Cooky, Straussy (England director of cricket and former captain Andrew Strauss)."

Root cited his impressive Test batting form, which includes an average of 52.80 in his 53-match career, as evidence that a lack of direct leadership experience would not harm his captaincy. 

"I didn't have much county experience before I got onto the Test team and I managed to find a way to be successful in that environment," he said. 

"I've got a lot of experience now with 50-odd games under my belt and I'd like to think for the past few years I have started to think as a captain in my own mind, so if Cooky ever needed help or advice or the bowlers came up to me and asked what I thought then I was switched on enough to think 'this is what I'd do'."

A busy year for England will see them face South Africa and the West Indies in home Test series before they begin the defence of the Ashes in Australia in November.

"I can't wait for the Ashes," Root added. "We should all be very excited about that.

"We have a great blend of experience and raw talent."

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