Joe Root wants to lead England into new era despite final Ashes humiliation | England cricket team


Joe Root has declared himself ready to lead England’s Test team into a new and potentially more successful era after their latest miserable collapse saw them lose all 10 wickets for 56 runs under the Hobart floodlights to surrender the fifth Test and conclude a one-sided Ashes series with a final act that skirted the border between tragedy and farce.

“I’d love the opportunity to take this team forward and turn things round,” said Root, who has now won 27 of 61 matches as captain over four and a half years. “At the minute we’re going through a real tough period. Performances haven’t been good. But I believe I’m the right man to take this team forward. If that decision is taken out of my hands then so be it, but I’d love the opportunity to take this team forward, and yes I do have the appetite to carry on and turn things around.”

Root admitted that, while his commitment to the England captaincy has never wavered, there have been moments when he considered whether “the team needs a slightly different direction and a new voice”. But he has concluded that he can lead them beyond the review that will inevitably follow this tour, and insisted that “good can come out of this series, definitely, if we use it in the right way”.

England’s ever-crowded schedule sees their next Test series start against the West Indies in Antigua in just over seven weeks, and though Root admitted that “we can’t keep playing our cricket the way we are – it’s clear as day some of the areas we have to improve on”, he insisted some immediate amelioration “will come from individuals taking a lot from this tour and becoming better players for this experience”.

But the 31-year-old also said that long-term success will come only once the current situation, when “anyone that’s coming into the Test team is doing it in spite of county cricket, not because of it”, comes to an end.

“Clearly there are some short-term things that need to change, but I think there’s a lot of things long-term that could lead to us having a successful team for a sustained period of time,” Root said. “When do young batters have the opportunity to go out with 450, 500 on the board and deal with scoreboard pressure? You don’t practice it in county cricket, the only time you’re exposed to it is in this environment. When have they had to go out to save a match against a turning ball in spinning conditions? They’ve never been exposed to it, and yet we’re expected to go to the subcontinent and win games against the best spinners in the world. We’re expected to come here and deal with pace and bounce when we might face one guy who bowls over 90mph a season.”

Root listed a variety of changes to county cricket, from the schedule and the scoring to the ball itself, that would better prepare young players for Test cricket. “It’s very difficult when you get beaten as heavily as we have done on this tour to convince people I’m the right man,” he said of England’s next chapter. “But I can tell you one thing for sure – as long as I have the opportunity to captain this team, I will throw everything into it and give everything – for everyone supporting us, for the guys around me, for the players – to try and provide an environment that allows us to be successful.”



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