Joe Root endured a lot of unfair criticism as England captain, Darren Gough says
Root announced on Friday he would be stepping down after five years as skipper following a poor run of results.
England have won just one of their last 17 Test matches and lost series in Australia and the West Indies over the winter.
Yet while those statistics may be poor, former England paceman Gough feels it is unfair for people to blame results on a player who, on a personal level, has continued to perform exceptionally well.
Root, 31, led England in 64 Tests and oversaw 27 victories, both national records. He also scored 5,295 Test runs during his time in charge, more than any previous incumbent, as well as 14 centuries.
“I was surprised by the criticism,” said Gough, Yorkshire’s interim director of cricket, on the county’s website.
“I think you have to look deeper than that. With everything that has been going on in English cricket, I don’t think you can blame the captain.
“He’s had a lot of criticism. I think what probably hurt him – it’s come from a lot of guys who played the game and captained England as well, some of his closest mates.
He’s got a strong character and he’s a great player.
“Unfortunately, we’re always looking for someone to blame.
“You have to have the players and you’re only as good as your players.
“Rather than criticise, you have to look at 27 Test wins. And the pressure he was under with the team he’s got around him, to still keep scoring hundreds in that period tells me that he’s got a strong character and he’s a great player.”
Root, who has played 117 Tests overall, will continue with the side as a specialist batsman.
England face Tests against New Zealand, India and South Africa this summer.
Prior to that, Gough hopes to see Root back in his county colours at Yorkshire.
He said: “With a bit of luck, I’d like to think we’d get him for two or three games before the Test series start.
“Whatever we get Joe Root for is a bonus. He loves playing for Yorkshire. We’ve kept in touch all winter and I can’t wait to get him back.”