England all-rounder Ben Stokes revealed his relationship with former Test captain Joe Root extends beyond just professional respect on the field.
Stokes is currently the vice-captain of the Test team and is widely expected to be announced as Roots' replacement very soon.
Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Stokes revealed he had an emotional telephone conversation with Root before he decided to step down as Test captain.
"Our relationship goes deeper and further than just team-mates," Stokes wrote. "We are good friends and have been for a long time.
"We've had some great moments on and off the field during this time and we've also had some pretty difficult ones too and it is that mutual support that has helped make it so special.
"When I took my break from the game in 2021, Joe was brilliant," Stokes added. "He said: 'I just want my friend to be alright.' The cricket came second, his concern was for my well-being full stop.
"And going back a few years now to the Bristol incident, that was where my captain went to bat for me. That is where my total loyalty towards Joe comes from, and he will always have it because he has never been anything but a good man towards me and the rest of his players."
After disappointment in England's most recent three-Test tour of the Caribbean, which they lost 1-0, a determined Root was adamant that he wanted to continue as captain and help fix the issues.
However, after a month-long break away from the game - and deep reflection on the fact that England has won just one of their last 17 Test matches under his leadership - Root announced his decision to step down as captain.
"As you can imagine it was quite an emotional conversation, but it wasn't a long chat, there will be time for that in the future," Stokes said.
"This was an emotional few minutes and, in return, there was nothing but love, respect and support from me because that is what Joe Root has shown me throughout his time as England Test captain.
"Now that he has stood down, I fully expect him to continue his brilliance with a bat in hand and show why he is the greatest batsman we've ever produced," Stokes said.
"We are lucky to have him and he's still got so much to offer English cricket."