LONDON: Former England captain Joe Root has said he is "thoroughly enjoying" England Test cricket's resurgence following two-years of dismal performance, adding he hoped the side could go from "strength to strength" from here on.
Under Root, the England Test suffered several series losses with the worst being the 4-0 hammering in the Ashes Down Under and the 1-0 series loss against the West Indies. Following criticism of his captaincy, Root stepped down to focus on his batting and since then the England side under new skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum has won six of the seven Test they have played — a first after 2004.
England's victories with Stokes at the helm have come against New Zealand, India and South Africa with Root and Jonny Bairstow being the architects of most wins with their fine batting. The side will tour Pakistan in December this year for a historic three-Test series.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed this year as much as probably any I have in international cricket since I've been playing, in terms of Test cricket in particular," Root told Sky Sports.
"Hopefully we can go from strength to strength from here and keep moving forward as a team, but we've done some things this year that not many Test teams have been able to achieve. I think the challenge for us now is to keep going for it, keep trying to explore new areas in the format and see how far we can take it."
Root said he had developed a "very unhealthy relationship" with his role as skipper and resigned in April to focus on his batting. He also said captaincy had started taking a "bad toll on my own personal health".
"It's been great fun (the Test wins under Stokes). Yeah, definitely. It was a tough last couple of years, but I think we've got to look forward as a team — I certainly have.
"I'm really excited to just get my teeth into trying to score as many as I can for Ben (Stokes) and for the team and see where we can get to as a side. As an experienced player in the team, I've still got a role in trying to lead in a different capacity, help with some of the younger batters and younger guys and hopefully that will benefit us as well.
"I'm really excited (for the Test series against Pakistan). I've never been before. When you look at some of the games that have been there in the last couple of years, the teams touring there, it has looked great so really looking forward to getting out there," he added. IANS