Root needs to bat three to make a statement

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Former England captain Graham Gooch feels that England skipper Joe Root should bat at three in the Ashes series in Australia.

Gooch also feels that allrounder Ben Stokes will be sorely missed if the ECB decide that he will not take part in the series.

Speaking on Sky Sports Gooch said: “I do think he should bat at No 3 and the reason I say that is because we need to make a statement.

“We cannot have a weak link, we cannot be 25-2 every time. In this line-up, he has to bat at No 3.

“If we had a regular No 3 who was successful and had a track record behind him, then [Root] can bat at No 4, but I don’t see any of the players who are hopefully going to make a name for themselves [James Vince, Dawid Malan and Gary Ballance] batting there.

“It’s going to be tough – Australia always target the captain, look to undermine him if they can.

“If they can undermine his performance so he is not a big contributor in matches that undermines his wellbeing and confidence. Then, in theory, he might not lead the side so well.”

Much of the pre-Ashes talk has centered around whether Stokes will make the trip after he was suspended for alleged involvement in a street brawl outside a Bristol night spot.

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Gooch feels the disruption has set the England team back and will harm their cause as they seek to retain the Ashes.

He added: “I don’t think what’s happened over the last few weeks has helped England’s cause at all.

“The disruption this could cause is going to be difficult to cope with.

“Stokes is an influential player. He is our third best player, in my opinion – he has a fantastic technique and has made so many improvements with his batting. He would be a great loss.”

The first Ashes Test gets underway in Brisbane on November 23.