Root Named Test Captain


As if we needed any proof that Andrew Strauss reads this blog religiously, England’s MD has just announced that Joe Root will be the new test captain … literally an hour after we published Jack Mendel’s piece endorsing Stuart Broad. Thanks for that Andrew. I’m glad you took one week, rather than three, to make a decision but you could’ve given us a bit more notice.

This is now the second Monday in a row that Strauss has ruined. Last week I had a rare day off planned … until news of Cook’s resignation hit the blogosphere. It’s as if the ECB are deliberately trolling me. Arrrrrgggghhh.

Anyway, (just to get my own back) here’s what Strauss didn’t exactly say (but probably wanted to) about Root’s appointment:

We’ve monitored Joseph within the team environment for a substantial period. He embraces the culture that embodies what we all want the England culture to be. His ability to process information stood out during the process. He also has the moving forward qualities required to move England forward. His curriculum vitae hit all the right leadership areas.

On a serious note I’m glad the ECB have come to the right conclusion. Root was my man all along and the obvious choice for the job. Ben Stokes is an interesting choice as vice captain too. These guys are clearly the new leaders in the dressing room and they’re both charismatic cricketers that are popular with the public.

We can’t pretend that Root has got an easy task: the South Africans will be a tough nut to crack and the Ashes tour will be ridiculously hard work. The Aussies don’t always travel well but they’re formidable in their own backyard.

Finally, let’s not forget that England’s schedule over the next two years is ridiculous. It’s almost immoral. This winter the guys that play all three formats (which obviously includes both Root and Stokes) will be away for four months. I really hope that Joe makes a good fist of leadership, but if he fails the ECB must take a large share of the blame for prioritising revenue above everything else … including player welfare.

Look after your dodgy back Joe. And don’t forget to watch your back too. We wish you all the best.

James Morgan


  1. Think the Saffers and Ashes might come a year too early for this team, given that we have novices in Hameed and Jennings in the top 4.

    The balance of the side is the key thing they have to sort. With Bairstow, Stokes and Mo in the top 7, they actually create themselves a problem which surfaced in India of playing either 6 bowlers or 8 batsmen.

    I’ve never been a fan of 6 bowlers because one is always going to be under-used.

    Playing a proper batsman at 8 is a bit of a waste as well, unless you stick Jos down there as a lower order counter attacker which would be different.

    My preference would be to take the gloves off Bairstow, say ‘thanks for the hard work, you’ve made yourself into a decent keeper, but the team’s best served by you being the best no. 5 you can be. Then pick the best gloveman in the country who can bat as low as 9 with Woakes more than capable of doing a job at 8.

    Jonny, Stokes and Mo at 5, 6 and 7 with Woakes / Foakes at 8/9 looks decent to me.

    • I agree Hamish. With our plethora of all rounders there’s certainly room for the best pure keeper somewhere in the XI.

  2. I have a problem with Stokes as vice captain. Whilst he is capable of brilliance with bat and ball (and is a consistently brilliant fielder), he produces that brilliance far too infrequently and disappoints too often. I suspect any other player would have been dropped on several occasions as being out of form. Yet making him VC makes him (almost) invulnerable. So what happens when he has another run of doing nothing whilst other all rounders, be they Mo, Woakes, Rashid or even Willey are producing the goods?

    • I don’t really agree with the premise, but even if I did you could make the same case the other way round for any of those?

      Regardless of who you pick there is a risk of sustained bad form.

      • But the others are not VC. The point I am making is that Stokes becomes uniquely more difficult to drop when he should be dropped because of his new position. As for my premise; the numbers do not lie. The only argument against is that it is worth accepting many games with no contribution in return for the odd flash of brilliance.

        • To be fair to Stokes, in 2016 (the last 12 tests) he’s averaged 45 with the bat and 26 with the ball. Those are very good statistics for an all rounder. We just have to hope that he keeps maturing. I think he’ll be absolutely vital down under during the winter’s Ashes. A key man. He will take the Aussies on for sure.

        • Yes but if one of those is picked as VC there is the same risk; that was the point I was making. If anyone else were given the VC they would be difficult to drop for the same reason.

          And the numbers are very favourable as James points out. After Root he’s one of the first names on the team sheet right now. Correctly in my view. He certainly has his good and bad days but what other member of the team doesn’t?

    • Madaboutcricket on

      You can say that about king stokes.. he’s world class.. world class they say.. the fact he does t produce often enough seems to be utterly ignored.. test match number six.. yeah right.. just shows the dire state of test crickets quality really.

      Good luck root, I don’t care how you do in 2017 as it’ll be your honeymoon but let’s see how your batting is in 2018-19

  3. The bit about player welfare is spot on James. I’m already hacked off big time that Root, Stokes and Woakes are going anywhere near the West Indies for those three pointless games next month. Well they can go to the Windies if they like but to relax and sink a few rums and lie on a beach (or something similar) rather than grind themselves into the dirt. There are also a whole load of similar ODIs v Windies at home in September that they would do well to be rested from too and let the ODI specialists take the strain.

    • Madaboutcricket on

      30 overs of bowling for a professional athlete ?? There is such a lot of trash over resting etc. These guys are highly paid and all they do is play cricket, Jesus.. if they get time off too then why not cut their wages ??

      It’s an easy life as it is, why are people so keen to cut their work load. It won’t help the quality of their play in any way shape or form.

      • Let’s not forget they spend about 200 nights a year in a hotel room. It’s draining for a pro to compete at the highest level.

        “Tiredness” means it is becoming difficult to compete at the highest level of sport, rather than they need to have a day off in bed because it’s all too much. The quality of cricket has undoubtedly suffered since the turn of the century and more and more pointless fixtures piled into the calendar. Test cricket is a 5 day game as well and can be very demanding physically for a fast bowler, they are all constantly injured

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