England: Joe Root emphasises ‘positives’ as scrutiny on captaincy intensifies

World Test Championship
Joe Root

Joe Root is convinced England can take a “lot of positives” from how they performed against the West Indies despite defeat putting his captaincy under enormous pressure.

Root did not address speculation about his position, which has been described as “untenable” by Michael Atherton, one of his predecessors as England skipper, after their latest setback in the Caribbean.

After creditable draws in Antigua then Barbados, England capitulated in Grenada and were thrashed by 10 wickets. They have now triumphed in just one of their last 17 Tests and are winless in five series.

But Root, who has been at the helm for an England record 64 Tests, was steadfast in his belief afterwards that he can transform the team’s fortunes and sees a much brighter future.

He posted on his social media channels on Tuesday: “A difficult defeat to take because I really think there were a lot of positives to come from the way we played for the vast majority of this series.

“Thank you to our amazing fans out here in the Caribbean and congratulations to (Windies captain) Kraigg (Brathwaite) and his team.

“After a long winter, it’s time to take a break and recharge ahead of the summer, but I believe in the future of this team.”

Dogged Windies blunt bowlers

England were in the ascendancy in the first couple of Tests but settled for stalemates on both occasions after their bowlers were largely blunted by dogged resistance from the Windies batters.

But in the decider the Windies lower order established a 93-run first-innings lead before England subsided to 120 all out in their second dig, ultimately swinging the series in the hosts’ favour.

England are winless in their last five Test series (Ricardo Mazalan/AP/PA)
England are winless in their last five Test series (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

It ends a winter of discontent for England, following on from being humbled 4-0 in the Ashes, and has led to a tidal wave of criticism for Root, with several former players calling for him to resign.

England’s 2005 Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan, a long-time mentor to Root, said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “He’s taken it as far as he possibly can.

“Tactically he has been poor. It has been a common trend under Joe – he hasn’t managed to grab a game. If he does carry on he’ll really need someone who can drive the tactical side of the game with him.”

Nasser Hussain, another former England captain, thinks Root’s current deputy Ben Stokes should now assume the mantle.

He told Sky Sports News: “I personally think it is time (for Root) to move on. Sometimes you just need to hear a different voice. Ben Stokes has a fantastic cricket brain and he is a huge presence in that dressing room.”

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