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Ben Stokes has backed Joe Root to continue his run-scoring spree with the bat, offering his England team mate “nothing but love, respect and support” after his decision to quit test captaincy.

Root stepped down last week, saying the job had taken a heavy toll on him recently, after dispiriting tours of Australia and the Caribbean capped a string of poor results.

The 31-year-old Root is England’s second-highest test run-scorer of all time, behind Alastair Cook. His tally of 5,295 runs as skipper is the highest by an England captain. He scored 1,708 test runs in 2021, 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 wrote in a column https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/cricket/ben-stokes-england-joe-root-26763016 for the Daily Mirror.

“We are lucky to have him and he’s still got so much to offer English cricket.”

Stokes thanked Root for his support as captain, saying their relationship went “deeper and further” than just team mates and they have been “good friends” for a long time.

Stokes said Root called him to inform of his decision.

“As you can imagine it was quite an emotional conversation, but it wasn’t a long chat, there will be time for that in the future,” he continued.

“This was an emotional few minutes and in return there was nothing but love, respect and support from me because that is what Joe Root has shown me throughout his time as England test captain.”

England appointed former batter Rob Key as the managing director of the country’s men’s cricket team while Stokes, who was Root’s deputy, has been tipped as a favourite to become the next captain.

“I know there will be lots of speculation around who will take over from him, and clearly as vice-captain and someone who has stood in on a few occasions my name will be strongly talked about,” Stokes added.

“But all I will say is that it is a huge honour to captain England and whoever does it will get to enjoy that responsibility of trying to take the team forward.”