Root the man to take English Cricket forward in 2017
The decision to hand Joe Root the England Test captaincy should herald the dawn of a new era in English cricket.
However, that is a phrase that has been trotted out through the ages and one that has not always rung true, with the England teammore often than not reverting to the status quo of playinga brand of conservative, low-risk cricket to grind out results regardless of who is at the helm.
Root’s predecessor, Alastair Cook, led from the front with the bat but was never the most animated character in the field and, quite often, remained reactive and not proactive.
The Yorkshireman will have a fewthings in his favour however when he leads his men out against South Africa in the summer.
Firstly, he is a world-class player and England’s best batsman and, secondly, he is already a popular figure with the fans and his team-mates.Add to that an astute cricketing brain and there is no reason to suggest he will not succeed in the job.
Bookies and tipsters were confident of his placement it seems with odds as low as 3/1for him to take the reins from Cook last week. And with further odds of 16/1 for him to remain undefeated as captain in 2017, online promotions, such as thisBetFred free return bet, are likely to serve as a very tempting carrot for people looking to take an early punt.
Cook guided England to a greatdeal of success but there was a sense that it had become all ornothing towards the end of his tenure.
England now draw very few games, with either dominant wins or crushing defeats and the 4-0 loss to India was always going to signal the end of the Essex man’s reign.
Consistency is what the Three Lions now needto move forward and a willingness to accept that they cannot play spin on the sub-continent.
There have been too many batting collapsesagainst average bowlers of late and that is something that must be addressed if Root is going to lead his side back to the summit of the five-day game.
Hecertainly has the players to do so, with the likesof vice-captain Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and MoeenAli all established campaigners, while new boys Keaton Jennings and Haseeb Hameed look set to challenge Cook for an opening berth.
Stokes is a pivotal player and, ultimately, one that puts bums on seats. The Durham man has already stated that he wants to see a smile back on the England fans’ faces after a tough period over the winter.
Much of that will be down to the brand of cricket that England play and, with the personnel they have in the ranks, there is every chance that it is going to be exciting for the fans.
Coach Trevor Bayliss has changed his players’ mindset in the one-day game and a once conservative approach has been replaced by a gung-ho attitude that has brought considerable success.
There was a sense that he wanted to do a similar thing to the Test side but had the obdurate Cook standing in his way.
Now with Root pulling the strings on the pitch, England have a chance to take their game to a new level and there will be no baggage from their previous disastrous tour to Australia when the battle for the Ashes begins in November.
England hold the famous little urn and will not give it up without a fight, with Rootmore than capable of standing up to the physical and mental challenge of taking on the Aussies on their own patch despite his baby-face appearance.
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