Root vows to be with new England skipper Stokes

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Former skipper Joe Root promised to be with new England Test captain Ben Stokes “every step of the way” after his close friend was appointed as his successor on Thursday.

The 30-year-old Stokes, who served as Root’s deputy, was the overwhelming favourite to take charge of a struggling team that have won just one of their past 17 Test matches.

Root stood down earlier this month following a series loss in the Caribbean, which came after Eng-land’s 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia. But the star batsman, who has continued to pile on the runs despite England’s woeful run of results, said he would give Stokes his complete support. “Always got each other’s backs,” Root tweeted.

“Congratulations mate, I’ll be right with you every step of the way.” Former England captain Kevin Pietersen also backed star all-rounder Stokes’s appointment, tweet-ing: “Congrats, @benstokes38! An incredible honour and I know you’ll do all of us England fans proud!” And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave his endorsement to Stokes.

“The prime minister would want to congratulate Ben as England men’s Test captain,” said his official spokesman. —APP