Root growing into England captaincy role

August 9, 2018 | By

London: Joe Root believes he is adjusting to the demands of being England’s captain in Test cricket after more than a year and 17 matches in charge.

Root will look to back-up last week’s 31-run win at Edgbaston by leading England to another victory when they face India in the second of a five-Test series at Lord’s starting on Thursday.

Going 2-0 up would represent a welcome change for Root, all of whose three previous home series as England skipper have been level at 1-1 after two Tests.

In May, a nine-wicket defeat by Pakistan at Lord’s meant England had gone eight Tests without a win following series losses in Australia and New Zealand.

But they squared a two-match campaign with Pakistan courtesy of an innings and 55-run victory at Yorkshire batsman Root’s home ground of Headingley before winning a thrilling opener against India.

“It does take a little bit of time to get used to things … there has been a lot of learning throughout the year-and-a-half,” Root told a news conference at Lord’s on Wednesday.

“(But) I think from the start of this summer I had a real clear idea about how we want to go about things,” added Root, whose England commitments meant he had limited captaincy experience before being appointed as the successor to Alastair Cook.

This Test season did not start well for England but few things boost collective morale like a hard-fought win such as the one England enjoyed at Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground.

At Lord’s, England will be without Ben Stokes, who took key wickets in the closing stages of the first Test, including the prize scalp of India captain Virat Kohli, because of his ongoing trial in Bristol on a charge of affray.

– ‘Strong characters’ –

Nevertheless, Root reckoned there were lessons from Edgbaston, where the 20-year-old Sam Curran starred with both bat and ball, for the team as a whole that could yet prove useful at Lord’s, even in the absence of all-rounder Stokes.

“It fills you with masses of confidence … to win a close game,” said Root.

“One of the most exciting things about last week is that we weren’t at our best … but we found a way to win under pressure, and wrestle momentum back,” he explained.

“That’s a sign of some strong characters in our dressing room — and having had some indifferent results in the recent past, to pull off a win like that is a really good sign.

“But it’s about backing it up now, looking for consistency in back-to-back games, and this is an opportunity to do that.”

Root, who made a valuable first-innings 80 at Edgbaston, played down his tactical contribution to England’s win.

“Ultimately, regardless of what you do as captain, your players have to perform — and I thought they were exceptional,” he said.

“It’s not for me to take the credit for their hard work.

“Under pressure we stayed calm … it would have been easy for us to chase the game on that last morning, but we didn’t.”


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