'England captaincy will spur Joe Root onto greater things'
Last Updated: 13/04/17 11:42pm
New England Test skipper Joe Root will thrive on the pressures of captaincy, says Sir Ian Botham.
Root, 26, succeeded Alastair Cook in the role in February but has to wait until early July to lead the team out - firstly against South Africa and then West Indies, before taking on Australia on their own patch this winter.
England are currently fourth in the ICC Test team rankings behind India, South Africa and Australia - with Root one place higher in the Test batting table - but Botham expects the Yorkshireman's appointment to lead to improvements in both standings.
"I think he'll relish the opportunity to continue climbing the ranks and competing for number one in the world," said Botham, who captained England 12 times.
"I think the captaincy might just spur him on to greater things. I don't see any problems for Joe - I think he'll be perfect.
"He'll get plenty of help; he's got Alastair Cook in the ranks, and other senior players all around him. I'm sure he'll call upon them whenever he needs to. He's very level-headed. I think he'll be absolutely fine."
England's first fixtures of a packed summer come in May when they contest two one-day internationals against Ireland before a three-match ODI series acts as a prelude to the Champions Trophy.
After finishing as runners-up in 2004 and 2013, Botham believes that this could be the time for Eoin Morgan's side to lift ICC silverware.
"We're due to win a 50-over tournament and I can't see why they can't this summer," he said. "I think it's going to be a really interesting tournament.
"England are starting off as favourites and have a realistic chance but, believe me, anyone of the eight sides playing in this could win it.
"England have played very good white-ball cricket since the debacle of the last World Cup; playing at home will be a big advantage.
"The ICC takes control of the pitches so we will be a little bit in their hands but I think the pitches will be good."
Botham was formally appointed Chairman of Durham CCC in February following the county's relegation from the top-flight of the County Championship last year - punishment for accepting a £3.8m financial aid package from the ECB.
The team also incurred a 48-point deduction, so Botham feels the players have a point to prove when they begin their Division Two campaign on Friday.
"The mood at Durham is very positive," he said. "I spoke to a few of the players on Tuesday. They basically want to get the season going now. They fell they are in good nick and are playing well.
"They accepted the relegation because that tends to go with finanical problems and clubs. They are a little disappointed that they were penalised 48 points as they've done nothing wrong, but they feel they are good enough and if they get off to a start, we'll be up there and competing.
"There are a lot of very good players and some good young players coming through as well. I'm quite excited and I know the players are."
Sky Sports will broadcast more hours of cricket than ever before this summer as we bring you coverage of all England's internationals, the ICC champions Trophy and the ICC Women's World Cup.