'Timing is right': Root steps down as England Test captain

England's Test skipper resigns following recent series defeats in Australia and the Caribbean, concedes the toll of captaincy has impacted him away from the game

England's horror Ashes summer has claimed another scalp, with Joe Root stepping down as Test captain.

Root confirmed he was making "the most challenging decision I have had to make in my career" on Friday, after their 4-0 Ashes thumping was followed by a 1-0 loss to West Indies.

His announcement comes after coach Chris Silverwood was sacked immediately after the Ashes, with director of cricket Ashley Giles and batting coach Graeme Thorpe also departing.

"After returning from the Caribbean tour and having time to reflect, I have decided to step down as England men's Test captain," Root said.

"It has been the most challenging decision I have had to make in my career but having discussed this with my family and those closest to me; I know the timing is right.

"I am immensely proud to have captained my country and will look back on the past five years with enormous pride.

"It has been an honour to have done the job and to have been a custodian of what is the pinnacle of English cricket."

Root, 31, holds the record for the most number of wins as England's Test captain, his 27 putting him one ahead of Michael Vaughan and three ahead of Sir Alastair Cook and Sir Andrew Strauss.

But the past 12 months have been disappointing. After winning their opening three Tests of 2021, England have won just one since, losing 11 and drawing five of their past 17.

Root leads fightback but can't crack ton

England's tactics were regularly a point of contention during the Ashes, with bowlers' lengths a clear issue with the pink ball in Adelaide.

Selections were also problematic, while Root's batting itself suffered as he went another Ashes tour without a century before rebounding in the Caribbean.

Hs exit leaves England without a captain, head coach, and managing director just 15 months out from next year's Ashes.

Ben Stokes would be the leading contender to captain them for that series, while veteran seamer Stuart Broad has also been floated as a future skipper.

"Watching one of my great mates lead us all out on to the field was a privilege," Stokes posted to Instagram on Friday.

"You have given everything to English cricket and we all want to say thank you for your sacrifices and hard work."

Root steadies ship but falls shy of century again

Root, who is England's second-highest Test run-scorer behind Cook, scored 14 centuries as captain, with his tally of 5,295 runs as skipper the highest of any England captain.

"I have loved leading my country, but recently it's hit home how much of a toll it has taken on me and the impact it has had on me away from the game," Root said.

"I am excited to continue representing the Three Lions and producing performances that will enable the team to succeed.

"I look forward to helping the next captain, my teammates and coaches in whatever way I can."

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: "Joe has been an exceptional role model during his tenure, balancing the demands of Test captaincy whilst continuing to shine brilliantly through his own personal performances."