NEW ENGLAND cricket captain Joe Root may well have enjoyed his debut as skipper by leading his team to an emphatic 211 run victory in the First Test Match against South Africa at Lord’s earlier this week, but it was his predecessor that enjoyed it even more.
Opening batsman Alastair Cook, who resigned as Test captain back in February after a successful four and a half years at the helm and 59 Tests in charge that included two Ashes series victories, appears to be having the time of his life now the burdens of captaincy have been removed from his shoulders.
After the Lord’s success, England’s Head Coach Trevor Bayliss said that Cook was certainly more relaxed in his new role. “I was having a laugh watching him in the field, running around in the covers,” he said. “He looked like he was enjoying it. For someone at this stage of his career, that’s a good sign.”
Bayliss also commented that new boy Root was nervous before the match began. “Before this test he (Root) was a little more on edge than I’ve seen him before. We spoke about Joe being himself, getting the message across in his way. He’s proactive and confident and I thought that came across in the way he led the team. Root and Cook are different characters; they go about their batting in different fashion, so the dressing room was a little different. A lot of the messages were similar, just delivered in a different way.”
Joe Root himself said that is was more than beneficial to him having the former captain in the team during his first Test in charge. “He (Cook) didn’t want to step on my toes and get in the way but it was great to have him around. I think it was nice for him to look at situations without having to make the decisions himself. It was really good of him to offer support and help when I needed it.”
The 26-year-old Yorkshire man was delighted to put in an individual performance of note with his first innings 190, and is keen for his side to maintain their high standards when the second Test starts at Trent Bridge today (Friday). “It was nice to walk across Lord’s (after the post-match press conference) and have that feeling of pride, accomplishment and relief as well as getting off to a good start,” he added. “But I am fully aware that there is a lot of hard work to come. I had a little celebration (after the first Test win) nothing too big. That was a very untypical English wicket and I thought we adapted to it well. It will be interesting to see what Trent Bridge has in store for us.”