Darren Gough can’t wait to see Joe Root back in a Yorkshire shirt.
Root has today stepped down as England’s Test captain, a role he has held since 2017.
Root’s tally of 5,295 runs as captain is the most by an England skipper, while his 64 games in charge and 27 victories are also records.
Gough, Yorkshire’s interim managing director of cricket, has not yet been able to report a fixed date for the 31-year-old’s return to county colours.
But 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 starts (June 2 v New Zealand).
“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.
“Joe loves it. He has a huge love for this cricket club.
“He’s been on messages and wished everybody luck before this (Gloucestershire) game. That’s the sort of character he is. He loves playing for Yorkshire and England.”
Speaking at Bristol, Gough admitted his surprise at Root’s resignation.
“Whether Joe’s personally had chance to spend some time at home and think, ‘Look, I’ve had a good run’. Twenty seven Test victories as captain is pretty impressive,” he continued.
“He’s probably thought that now’s the right time to step away.
“But I was surprised when I was sat over breakfast this morning and it popped up on the screen.
“I think he’s done a good job, I really do. But the problem is that one win in 17 is the one that goes against him. Twenty seven Test victories, though.
“When you think about it, would you say he’s always had the best players available to him in that last 17 Test Matches? I would say not.
“There’s been strange selections where you’re leaving out two of the greatest bowlers at the same time (Anderson and Broad for the West Indies series). You could question the selection policy around it.
“But I think Joe, and I’ve been in that dressing room environment in New Zealand, is hugely respected by every single player and coaching staff. And he was the perfect man for the job.
“He led from the front.
“Go down England’s last 20 hundreds and it’s Root, Root, Root, Root, Root. He’s got about 17 of them!
“That’s how important he is to the team.
“He’s a strong personality. Everybody thinks he’s this relaxed, fun loving guy, which he is – he has a strong personality. But he’s also a strong leader.
“When I was in that dressing room, I was impressed by his leadership skills and his vision. Unfortunately that vision has been interrupted by a lot of the injuries they’ve had and the changes in personnel.
“Like I say, in that last 17 Tests, I think he’s been quite unlucky with selection and injuries.
“You put Wood and Archer in that line-up with Broad and Anderson and it’s very impressive.”
Root’s last series in charge was the 1-0 reverse in the West Indies last month, a result for which he came under fire.
“I was surprised by the criticism,” Gough said.
“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.
“Unfortunately, we’re always looking for someone to blame.
“When you look back in the history of captains, what do we always say? ‘Well, he was a good captain because he won the Ashes or he wasn’t because he didn’t win the Ashes’. But the greatest captain I ever played under was Nasser Hussain, and he didn’t win the Ashes.
“You have to have the players, and you’re only as good as your players.
“You can be as good a captain as you want. Yes, you might be able to make a little one percent change, but you need the team.
“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.
“I think it’s a bit harsh, but it’s decided now and he can concentrate on his batting.”
Asked for his opinion on who should be Root’s successor, Gough said: “Obviously Ben Stokes is a terrific personality, and I would say he’s one of those natural leaders on the field.
“But, unfortunately, he’s had this time out of the game, he’s got these injuries and his workload’s already through the roof.
“It’s a big decision if he takes it.
“And some of the better candidates are not in the England team at this moment in time. They got dropped after the winter.
“It will be a very difficult choice with who they go for.”
The possibility of going for a player out of the side with captaincy experience has also been mooted in the media, someone such as a James Vince.
Gough added: “I said it three years ago that James Vince should have been opening the batting.
“I think technically, he’s got all the game to open the batting for England. Unfortunately, he doesn’t want to do that. He bats at five for Hampshire.
“They could go that route, but it means someone has to be left out in the middle order, whether it be a Pope or a Lawrence.
“It’s a difficult one.
“Someone like Rory Burns, I think has great leadership skills. He’s a guy who stays level no matter whether the team is doing badly or whether he’s doing well or badly.
“I think he would have been an option, but he’s not in the team.”