Ben Stokes has supported Joe Root to continue his run-scoring streak with the bat, saying he has “nothing but love, respect, and support” for his England teammate following his decision to step down as test captain.

Root announced his resignation last week, claiming that the task had taken a heavy toll on him recently, following disappointing tours of Australia and the Caribbean that concluded a spate of bad outcomes.

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Root, 31, is England’s second-highest Test run-scorer of all time, after only Alastair Cook. His 5,295 runs as captain are the most by an England captain. In 2021, he scored 1,708 test runs, including six Test centuries.

“Now that he has stood down, I fully expect him to continue his brilliance with a bat in hand and show why he is the greatest batsman we’ve ever produced,” all-rounder Stokes said in a Daily Mirror column.

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“We are fortunate to have him, and he still has a lot to give English cricket.”

Stokes praised Root for his captaincy, saying that their friendship goes “deeper and farther” than simply being teammates and that they have been “excellent friends” for a long time.

Root, according to Stokes, contacted him to notify him of his decision.

“As you can guess, it was quite an emotional talk,” he said, “but it wasn’t a long one; there will be time for that in the future.”

“This was an emotional few minutes, and in return, I received nothing but love, respect, and support from Joe Root, since it is what he has shown me during his time as England test captain.”

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England recently named former batter Rob Key as the country’s men’s cricket team’s managing director, while Stokes, Root’s deputy, is widely considered the favourite for the Test captaincy.

“I know there will be a lot of speculation about who will take over from him, and obviously as vice-captain and someone who has stepped in on a few times, my name will be heavily discussed,” Stokes continued.

“But all I would say is that captaining England is a big honour, and whoever does it will get to appreciate the responsibility of attempting to lead the team forward.”