Root determined not to let captaincy talk distract England

England's Joe Root during the third Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 28, 2021
England's Joe Root during the third Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 28, 2021

Joe Root's position as England captain has been the subject of much debate since the tourists suffered a third straight defeat in the ongoing Ashes series but the 31-year-old does not want to “waste energy” talking about it in the run-up to the fourth Test.

Australia took an unassailable 3-0 lead with victory in Melbourne last week to retain the Ashes, with England cricket great Geoffrey Boycott among those calling for Root to step down from the leadership role.

Ben Stokes has been touted as a potential candidate to replace Root but the all-rounder has said he has no ambition to be a captain and backed the Yorkshireman to continue in the role.

Root said he wanted to keep the focus on salvaging some pride from the remainder of the tour, starting with the fourth Test in Sydney beginning on Wednesday.

“At the end of the day ... I don't think as a distraction that should be around the group or I should be wasting energy on right now,” Root told reporters on Monday.

“I need to make sure to throw everything I can into these two games. I think I owe that to this team and to the players and give us the best chance of getting the results that we desire.”

England coach Chris Silverwood, whose own future has also been called into question, has tested positive for Covid-19 while two net bowlers provided for their training session were withdrawn on Sunday after testing positive.

Root said England should learn from their hosts on how to handle conditions in Australia.

“We've been shown first-hand by Australia how to go and do that in these conditions. It's our opportunity now to do it to ourselves,” he added.

“Of course we have to do it in our own way. We can't just try to be something that we're not, but we have to manage that better than we have done so far and take the chances.”

While media speculation has put Stokes in the running to replace Root, the 30-year-old said he is fully behind the current skipper.

“I've never really had an ambition to be a captain,” the Telegraph quoted Stokes as saying.

“Captaincy is more than about setting fields, picking the team, making decisions out there in the middle. A captain is someone you want to go out and play for. Joe Root is someone I always want to play for.”

Stokes said the team paid no attention to the media “hype” about their futures.

“The most important people's opinions are those guys in the dressing room and they've got our thorough support,” he said.

“Chris Silverwood exactly the same. He's a real players' coach. He stands up for you as individuals and players.

“All the hype in the media recently about their futures, it's your job to write that. But they know full well they have the support of everyone in there.”

England face Australia in the fourth Test in Sydney from Wednesday, with the final match in Hobart from January 14. — Reuters




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