Joe Root: Fatherhood is bigger challenge than being England captain

David Churchill
Big challenge: Joe Root has spoken out about fatherhood: Nigel Howard

Joe Root says he is more daunted by the challenge of being a father than being England’s new cricket captain.

The Test skipper, 26, became a parent for the first time in January when fiancée Carrie Cotterell gave birth to their son Alfred William.

Despite “loving every minute” of fatherhood, he admitted “nothing can really prepare you for becoming a father.”

He said the biggest challenge will be being away from his family while on tour. Root’s son arrived on January 7, just five weeks before he was made Test captain after Alastair Cook resigned.

Speaking to the Standard, the World No 3 Test batsman said: “I think being a dad is the hardest challenge for me. I’ve spent my whole life learning how to play cricket and I felt I was ready to take on the role when I was offered the job, whereas I don’t think you can really prepare for becoming a father.

“But I’ve loved every minute of it so far, it’s been fantastic.

“It’s difficult being away from home on occasions, but that’s something I’m going to have to get my head around pretty quickly.

“It’s awesome, I love it. It’s really exciting that you can have a really tough day or you can be under a lot of pressure, but when you come home you’ve got someone who unconditionally loves you and just getting a little smile at the end of the day, it’s a really special feeling.”

He says fatherhood has changed him because he realises cricket is “just a game” and “there’s a lot more to life”.

The thought of taking on two challenges simultaneously does not keep him awake at night because “I’ve never really slept that well anyway”.

Thanks to Carrie and their supportive relatives he is managing well.

He said: “I’m coping quite well. I’m very fortunate to have a great fiancée who’s a brilliant mum and has taken to it fantastically and we’ve both got fantastic families who absolutely embrace being grandparents and great-grandparents and aunties and uncles.

“We’re very grateful for all their support. The only real challenge is looking at my schedule and knowing I’ll be spending large chunks of time away from them.” The pair, who got engaged last year, are also trying to find time amid Root’s busy schedule to fix a wedding date.

Although admitting it was “a lot to take on”, Root says he never thought about turning down the captaincy due to becoming a father — and he even joked that his catching skills on the field have helped when it comes to handling the baby. He said: “I haven’t dropped him yet — that’s one I don’t want to ever let slip.”

Root last night helped unveil England’s new Test, One-Day and T20 cricket kits at the New Balance store in Oxford Street, where he told how he keeps fit by running in the Peak District near his home. The new kits are on sale at the store from today.