England captain Joe Root was phenomenal with the bat while overseeing a record number of losses | Cricket news
Joe Root has had it all year.
In 2021, the Yorkshireman scored 1,708 tries, comfortably the most by an English hitter in a calendar year, and behind only Mohammad Yousuf and Sir Viv Richards in the all-time roster, with six centuries and an average of 61.
Yet despite posting those remarkable numbers, England lost nine of their 15 tryouts – tying Bangladesh’s record for most defeats in a year – and, having won the top three , she won only one of the following 12 games. All under the direction of Root.
The ongoing Ashes debacle in Australia, with the streak already lost, has led to serious questioning of head coach Chris Silverwood’s position and Root is under similar scrutiny.
« You know people will be talking about your position, you know everything in English cricket will be called into question, » former England skipper Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports Cricket Podcast.
“It always happens after an Ashes streak, especially away from home. This is 12 of the last 13 tests [in Australia] they lost. We are getting hammered in Australia, what goes through your mind is that everything will be called into question, and your position is open to debate. «
This “everything” has included the state of the county system, the quality of the English pitches and the coaches the players receive before and after entering the international setup. But another former England captain, Michael Atherton, believes the head coach and captain should shoulder their share of the blame for the Ashes’ latest blow.
Former England spinner Monty Panesar believes Root should continue as test captain regardless of the results in Australia
“In fact, in this case, I would focus on the details of this tour because I don’t think the people in charge, in this case Chris Silverwood and Joe Root, could escape responsibility for what has been a strewn tour. ‘mistakes,’ he said.
“There were a lot of mistakes in selection and strategy and if things had improved on this tour I think you could have seen a slightly better result.
“I don’t think you can just sweep it aside and say, ‘everything is systemic, the big picture is the problem’, I think there was an element of personal responsibility for what went wrong. on this tour because there were too many mistakes and bad mistakes were made. «
Of course, after nearly five years on the job, it’s possible that Root himself may decide that now is the time to change and quit after the fifth test in Hobart.
Sky Sports’ Nasser Hussain said some of the decisions England head coach Chris Silverwood and Root made on the Ashes tour were shocking
“You pretty much know when your time as captain is up,” Hussain added.
“I don’t accept that the players look at you and lose the locker room – they really have to look at each other, they haven’t been eliminated in 68 years because of captain Joe Root.
“When I lost the Ashes, I didn’t care what the players thought of me as a captain. When I saw the energy in the white ball streak the following summer I knew my tank was empty, I had been to the pit too many times and ended up as English cricket captain .
« It’s the only decision Joe has to make after this series, can he dig deep to lift himself up for more series and become captain again? » The decision is up to Root, did he lack the mental reserves to move that side forward? «
Meanwhile, Rob Key would be interested to see how Root could fare with a different head coach with an alternate leadership approach that could better complement his role as captain.
« Does he still want to do it? » » he said. « I would like to see how Joe Root would have gotten along with a Ricky Ponting, a Stephen Fleming or Mahela Jayawardene, guys who know the game inside out at this level, that’s what I think he needed. [from a coach] – a Gary Kirsten, someone like that.
“It’s not always how good you have been, it’s what this captain needs. «
What England will be wary of is the impact losing the captain’s post could have on Root’s stick. The last thing they need is to do something that results in the downgrade of a man who has scored over 1,000 points higher than the next top contributor in 2021.
“A lot of times when the captains get to this point it’s happened to Alastair Cook, it’s usually your hitter that’s going,” Key added.
“The weight of the captain means you can’t keep going, and scoring points becomes a chore, becomes too difficult. The captain actually got the best out of Joe Root. «
Indeed, while a general lack of points has been England’s biggest problem this year, their first hitter has been in the form of a life.
“Amazing, really,” Atherton said. “This paradox of incredible personal success in the face of a calendar year in which England have lost nine test matches.
“We almost feel like these races have been wasted in a way – I mean, not a waste because he will come back with great pride in his year, but that didn’t translate into any wins. , only four wins and nine losses. »
Hussain added, “With everything that’s been going on around him with those nine Test losses, chaos and Covid, to watch him beat like he’s done this year, wearing that side day in and day out, coming in to 15 or 20 -2 each time – I think his stick has been phenomenal.
“And not just the stats, people get their races, it’s the way he gets their races. His state of mind at the crease, he plays with a smile on his face.
“This is something we must not forget, as an English cricket captain your main goal is to win test matches and he doesn’t, so he, like Silverwood, is under pressure now and the ax could fall on him.
Mark Butcher analyzes who could replace Root as test captain if he were to step down after Ashes’ humiliating defeat of his team
“But you are also an ambassador for your game and you cannot tell him that Joe Root is not a great ambassador for English cricket and the game in general; the way he approaches the game, the way he talks about the game, his love of the game and most importantly the way he plays and hits.
“We don’t admire it sometimes – we’re talking about Ponting, Lara, Tendulkar and Kohli, we have one and his name is Joe Root. His year has just been phenomenal. «
With England still two games to go in Australia, it’s hard to imagine that talks haven’t already started at the ECB on what to do next.
Whatever decisions are made Root will have a big role to play and, given the scarcity of options to take over as captain, it may not just be with the bat.