Root eyes path worn by Smith, Kohli |

Root eyes path worn by Smith, Kohli

16 February 2017

Joe Root will become England's 80th Test captain // Getty

England's new Test captain says he hopes to follow in the footsteps of his Australian and Indian counterparts

Joe Root hopes becoming a Test captain will take his batting to the "next level", just as it's done for India's Virat Kohli and Australia's Steve Smith.

Root was confirmed as England's new Test skipper, following Alastair Cook's resignation, despite the likes of former Test spinner Graeme Swann saying it could adversely affect his batting.

The 26-year-old Yorkshireman already boasts an impressive batting average of nearly 53 in his 53 Tests to date.

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Yet Kohli averages over 67 as captain of the India side now top of the world Test rankings compared to a shade above 41 when a player in the ranks.

The corresponding figures for Smith are equally stark, at 71 and 53 respectively. 

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"That excites me," said Root at his Headingley home ground on Wednesday. 

"It’s a great motivator to make sure I do everything I can to get my batting in the best place possible and set the example for the rest of the guys in the team."

"You look at other guys who’ve taken similar roles like Virat and Steve Smith and they've gone on to bigger and better things and taken their game to the next level. I don’t see why I can’t look at it in the same light.” 

"It’s a great opportunity to take that added responsibility and really motivate me to get better.

"Every kid dreams of being England captain one day... I'm just really looking forward to getting my teeth into it and putting my mark on things."

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Root also said he wants to see predecessor Alastair Cook to rediscover his best form with the bat and "smash every record going" now he's been freed from the responsibility of leadership.

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.

The 32-year-old opener intends to continue his England career and Root suggests he won’t hesitate in calling on his predecessor’s experience.

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“It's going to be a great help, having that experience and advice around the dressing room,” he said.

"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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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. 

And while it’ll be a busy home summer for England with seven Tests against the West Indies and the Proteas at home, Root admits he has half an eye on his side’s defence of the Ashes in Australia in November.

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

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