oe Root has declared his desire to remain captain of England after another dismal loss to the Ashes, but believes major structural change is needed in the domestic game as players reaching Test level ‘do so despite county cricket , not because of that”.
Root said there was “no excuse” for performances like the one that saw England lose all 10 wickets for 56 runs to spare in three days at the final Test in Hobart.
Root accepts that the decision to become captain could be taken away from him after their second 4-0 defeat in Australia, and also hopes Chris Silverwood stays on as head coach (which seems less likely). That said, he accepts that the pair need to be “tougher” on the players.
He also confirmed that he will not be participating in the IPL auction next month as he is putting “all his energy” into reviving the test team.
He said, “I will continue to sacrifice as much as I can because I care so much about Test cricket in our country.”
Root echoed ECB cricket chief executive Ashley Giles’ belief that the structure of the domestic game must revert to red-ball cricket if the Test team is to thrive.
” How much time do you have ? said Root, when asked what needed to change at the first class level.
“What I would say is what incentives in county cricket at the moment are there to open the batting, just up the order? What incentives are there to be a spinner? And what are the incentives to play fast?
“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of it, the way it’s set up, the way the games seem to be going, whether you’re looking at the first set average scores of 250 or whatever it is, the length of the games short.
“I’m not going to make excuses for a performance like that because it’s not good enough for Test Cricket. It doesn’t matter how inexperienced you are, against what opposition you play. Even on this surface, which offered designers, we are a better team than that and we have to be better aware of ourselves.
“But what I will say is whoever comes into this Test team at the minute does so in spite of County cricket, not because of County cricket.
“I think there are definitely things that need to change, some things that need to change over a long period of time – it won’t happen overnight – but there are a lot of things that can change quite quickly and which would hopefully bring about a meaningful change. impact for the young people and the guys in and around this team to prepare better.
“You look at some of the young hitters – when did they have the opportunity to come out with 450, 500 on the board and deal with the pressure of the scoreboard? You don’t practice it in county cricket, the only time they’re exposed to it is in that environment. When did they have to come out to save a test match against a spinning ball in spinning conditions?
“They were never exposed to it. And yet we’re supposed to go to the subcontinent and win games against the best spinners in the world, we’re supposed to come here and manage the pace and bounce back when we could face a guy who rides over 90 mph a season.
“So how can we encourage that? What changes can be made? We need to produce better wickets. How are we going to do this? Hopefully playing at a better time of year. By flattening the seam on the ball. Maybe give our setters the chance to throw a Kookaburra ball, if that helps. Double the hit points. It doesn’t matter what it is. Encourage first run leads by getting over 400.
“There are a number of things I think we can do fairly quickly to give our guys a better opportunity to prepare for this environment.
“And obviously with that it will negate lapping and bowling at 70 mph, it will encourage guys to try to create new angles, be more consistent or find another way to take wickets, and it will also give the spinners an opportunity to bowl in the first half of the season.
Root said he thought he would retain his players’ support after 61 load tests.
“I feel like the right person for the job,” he said. “I have an appetite, I’m passionate about it, I think I have the support of the guys around me. I’m very experienced in the role now. I hope that’s what will happen in the future, but it’s another step forward that needs to happen.