Strauss backs Root as 'obvious guy' to captain England

By Sports Desk September 18, 2019

Joe Root remains the obvious candidate to serve as England Test captain, according to former skipper Andrew Strauss.

Root's side concluded a thrilling Ashes battle against Australia with a series-levelling win at The Oval last week, although a 2-2 draw in the five-match rubber was not enough to regain the famous urn.

Strauss presided over back-to-back Ashes triumphs in 2009 and 2010-11 and feels Root, who was beaten 4-0 in Australia in 2017-18, will be stronger for the experience.

However, the 42-year-old former opener warned the Yorkshireman must balance the burden of captaincy against his output with the bat.

Root failed to convert any of his four Ashes fifties into three-figure scores over the course of the English summer, with such efforts dwarfed by Australia run machine Steve Smith.

"I think he's learnt a lot on the job. He's had some tough circumstances to deal with," Strauss, who was appointed chair of the ECB's cricket committee last week, told Omnisport.

"Obviously, the Ashes away in Australia wasn't a happy time for us.

"But he would have been buoyed by the performance at The Oval and he's the obvious guy to keep going.

"He's learnt all the lessons there are to learn and now it's about him evolving and developing as a captain, but also making sure he looks after his own game at the same time.

"We need him to be putting in those sort of performances, maybe not Steve Smith level, but somewhere close. He's definitely capable of doing that."

Among the pluses from England's 135-run triumph at The Oval was a third half-century in as many matches for Joe Denly, whose battling displays have suggested an alliance with Rory Burns at the top of the order might yet be something more than makeshift.

Sam Curran impressed on his first outing of the series with some lively left-arm seam bowling and Strauss believes the all-rounder and his Surrey team-mate Ollie Pope are candidates to freshen up the Test side during the forthcoming tours of New Zealand and South Africa.

"I don't think you're going to get wholesale changes," Strauss told reporters at the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am. "They might have a look at one or two, someone like Ollie Pope – hopefully Sam Curran will get a bit of a run in the side as well.

"I think it was great to see Denly and Burns earn themselves a bit more time and show that they're capable of opening the batting.

"You've got to start somewhere and they might end up being that partnership.

"We need a bit more consistency in our Test cricket, that's for sure. We've got the makings of a very good team but it's about learning how to win and how to make sure that you don't put yourself under real pressure, which maybe we've done too often."

England are yet to name a replacement for outgoing head coach Trevor Bayliss, with Chris Silverwood expected to take interim charge in New Zealand.

Strauss agrees with his successor as England's director of cricket, Ashley Giles, that one coach overseeing all three formats is preferable, although he feels increased specialisation below is likely.

"I think Ashley Giles has said he prefers one coach overseeing things and then maybe some specialist support staff or assistant coaches," Strauss added.

"The challenge is so much cricket coming up in all three formats. With the World Test Championship and a global event every year we've got to be very consistent and good in all formats.

"I think that leads to specialist support staff but it also probably leads to specialist players as well. We'll see how they go with that."

Related items

  • Rathour: Phenomenal Rohit gives India different dynamic Rathour: Phenomenal Rohit gives India different dynamic

    Batting coach Vikram Rathour says having an in-form Rohit Sharma at the top of the order changes the dynamic of the India side after he made another century on day one of the third Test against South Africa.

    Rohit was unbeaten on 117 and Ajinkya Rahane 83 not out when stumps were drawn due to bad light, with India on 224-3 as they bid to secure a 3-0 whitewash after being reduced to 39-3 in Ranchi on Saturday.

    The selectors promoted Rohit to open for the first time in the longest format in the series against the Proteas and the 32-year-old has grasped his opportunity, making three hundreds.

    Rathour has been impressed with the application Rohit has shown following his promotion and always felt there should be a place for the dangerous right-hander in all three formats.

    "He is such an experienced player I don't think you needed to do anything with his technique, the only adjustment I think he had to make was his game plans," said Rathour

    "In Test cricket you need to play through those tough spells and I think he's doing that really well in this series.

    "If he can keep doing that, once he's set, then he is a phenomenal player - we all know that - he can really punish you. He needed to make that mental adjustment to his game plans and he's done that well. 

    "I always said he's too good a player not to be playing in any format, so I think it was a good call to get him to open and with the amount of runs scored of course, I think he has settled the issue for the time being.

    "Somebody with his experience and the kind of cricket he plays, if he starts coming good for you at the top of the order that changes everything for the Indian dynamic - even when you are touring."

     

  • Rohit and Rahane put India on top after poor start in Ranchi Rohit and Rahane put India on top after poor start in Ranchi

    Rohit Sharma made his third century of the series and Ajinkya Rahane was also closing in on a hundred as India hit back after a poor start on day one of the third Test against South Africa in Ranchi.

    Kagiso Rabada took two early wickets in a magnificent new-ball spell and India - who gave a debut to Shahbaz Nadeem - were 39-3 when Anrich Nortje removed Virat Kohli for 12.

    That was as good as it got for a Proteas side that included five changes - with Heinrich Klaasen and George Linde handed Test bows - as an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 185 between Rohit (117 not out) and Rahane (83no) put India in control.

    Rohit punished the Proteas attack with a combination of exquisite timing and power in his new role at the top of the order and Rahane played with great fluency in a classy knock.

    India were 224-3 when bad light brought play to a premature end as they bid to secure a 3-0 whitewash.

    Rabada (2-54) roared in to raise South Africa's spirits after their hammering in Pune last week, the in-form Mayank Agarwal (10) edging the paceman to Dean Elgar at third slip off the final ball of the fifth over.

    Cheteshwar Pujara soon followed without scoring when he was struck on the back pad and given leg before wicket, with Rabada then denied a third wicket as Rohit overturned an lbw decision.

    Nortje claimed the huge scalp of Kohli, who made a Test-best 254 not out last week, by getting one to nip back in and strike the skipper bang in front.

    Rohit and Rahane saw India through to 71-3 at lunch and played with great freedom as the runs flowed in the afternoon session, Rabada twice taken for 13 in an over.

    The aggressive Rohit and Rahane attacked Dane Piedt and the opener reached three figures for the sixth time in the longest format by disdainfully dispatching the spinner for one of four sixes in his imperious knock.

    Rahane also lofted Piedt down the ground for six, while Linde bowled with reasonable control, but the breakthrough was not forthcoming and only 58 overs had been bowled when stumps were drawn under dark clouds.

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: England boss Jones offers 'not a lot of sympathy' to Australia Rugby World Cup 2019: England boss Jones offers 'not a lot of sympathy' to Australia

    England boss Eddie Jones offered no sympathy to Australia after his team swamped the Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup.

    A thumping 40-16 victory in Oita carried England through to the semi-finals, with Australian Jones the unabashed architect.

    As his counterpart Michael Cheika just about held back tears, telling one journalist to show some "compassion" when raising the question of his future, Jones was jubilant after his own team's performance.

    But when it came to sympathising with his former Randwick team-mate, there was nothing going.

    "Look, it's tough when you lose a game, particularly at this level of a World Cup," Jones said in a post-match news conference.

    "At this moment, not a lot of sympathy, no, because I'm enjoying the win and I think I'm allowed to enjoy the win.

    "Maybe later in the week I might, so ask me that later in the week."

    England will be deep in preparation for their semi-final task by then, and the impressive performance in their first match of the knock-out stage will count for very little.

    They must not merely reprise the display that ripped Cheika's side apart but take it to the next level, Jones said.

    "We just want to keep challenging ourselves. We haven't played at our best yet," Jones said.

    "The challenge is: how do we get better next week?"

    He said England would expect "probably the toughest game of the tournament" next and predicted a "twinge" that led two-try Jonny May to come off late in the Australia game will not keep him sidelined.

    Jones described Kyle Sinckler as "like a runaway rhino" after his charge to the line for England's third try, and said George Ford was "absolutely spectacular" after coming off the bench in the second half, having been surprisingly left out of the starting line-up.

    England's coach was wary, though, of placing the team on too high a pedestal, even when touching on a favourite pet topic of samurai warriors.

    "It's a do-or-die game today. Everyone understands that, and the best samurais were always guys who had a plan but could adapt, who had a calm head, but they were full of aggression," Jones said.

    "I thought we were pretty much like that today.

    "The challenge is always how we get better, because there's always a better samurai around the corner, so we have to get better."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.