ANDREW Gale expects Joe Root to take to the England captaincy “like a duck to water” if he is offered the top job after Alastair Cook’s resignation.

Yorkshire batsman Root is the favourite to replace Cook, who yesterday stepped down after 59 Test Matches in charge since 2012.

Root is expected to be appointed to the Test job prior to England’s departure for a three-match one-day series against the West Indies on February 22.

Although Gale accepts the 26-year-old is the obvious choice, he stopped short of accepting his appointment as a fait accompli.

“I don’t think it’s a dead cert it will be Rooty, but he’s got as good a chance as anyone,” said the Yorkshire coach.

“He’s established himself, he plays all three formats, he knows the game, he’s got the respect of his team-mates and speaks well.

“You’d think they’ll go for him, but I don’t think it will be as cut and dried as it’s being made out.

“(Jos) Buttler’s been talked about a bit as captaincy material, but he doesn’t play much Test cricket.

“No one really stands out, so you’d think they’ll go for Rooty.

“It will be interesting to see whether they go for him across all three formats or whether they stick with Eoin Morgan.”

Root has long since been talked about as a future England captain.

He captained Yorkshire at under 13s, 15s and 17s level as well as the county’s Academy team.

He then led the England Lions once in 2013 and Yorkshire in three County Championship matches the following year.

He lost one, won one and drew the other, lifting the title at Trent Bridge when Gale was suspended.

“It’s a funny one, the England job, because you don’t get the opportunity to learn about captaincy until you are doing it at the highest possible level. And it will be tough,” said Gale.

“It’s tough even learning on the job with Yorkshire, where there’s nowhere near as much pressure.

“He’s had a little bit of experience with Yorkshire, and he did well. I’m sure he will take to it like a duck to water.

“You can see the way he plays his cricket, he thrives on the biggest stage. The way he’s performed over the last few years, he’s had the odd dip here and there, but ultimately he’s been England’s best player.”

Root’s first taste of senior captaincy with Yorkshire didn’t exactly go to plan in 2014 when he oversaw a record defeat against Middlesex, for whom Chris Rogers hit a superb 241 not out in pursuit of 472.

No doubt, this will not be last time this match is recalled during the next few weeks.

“Chris Rogers played exceptionally well, and even if I was skipper that day, the result would still have been the same,” said Gale.

Cook aims to continue his playing career beyond his current 140 Tests, with England’s next series coming against South Africa at home in July.

Gale added: “Alastair had to step away now or wait until after the Ashes, and he obviously felt the time was right. I think it’s probably a good decision.

“It gives whoever they give the captaincy to the opportunity to lead the side and bed their way in over the English summer before the Ashes next winter.

“He’s achieved a hell of a lot as captain, and he’s got a lot of respect from people within the game.

“He’s done a fantastic job in taking the team forward. He won the Ashes twice under his leadership, and that’s an incredible feat in itself.

“Yes, there’s been a little bit of criticism for him this winter, but it’s not only England who are losing on the sub-continent. Everyone who goes there at the minute seems to be getting beaten.”