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Joe Root must stand down after cricket series loss, reaction, video highlights, Ashes

Three of England’s most respected voices have called on Joe Root to step down.

England’s series defeat to the West Indies has proven the last straw.

Under Root, England have won just one of their past 17 Tests, including their 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia.

For the first time in their history, England have lost five straight series (of series with two or more Tests).

The 31-year-old has a winning percentage of 42.19 from 64 Tests in charge. His winning record is lower than Michael Vaughan (50.98) and Andrew Strauss (46), but higher than Alastair Cook (40.68), Nasser Hussain (37.78), Mike Atherton (24.07) and Graham Gooch (29.41).

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England greats are lining up to encourage Joe Root to stand down as skipper. Photo: Getty Images
England greats are lining up to encourage Joe Root to stand down as skipper. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

For a cricket union with the rich resources it has, losing to the West Indies – a collection of Islands with no indoor facilities, nor a first-class system with any real status – is the straw that has broken the camel’s back.

A broom was put through the high performance set up following the disaster Down Under, now Root is being encouraged to step down.

“After a double failure of his own, twice out to the dobbing medium pace of Kyle Mayers, it felt like a moment to end the delusion,” Atherton wrote in The Times

“Root’s captaincy is untenable, and he must surely know it deep down. His team have gone five series without victory and have won only one Test in the past 17, a shocking run for a side so well resourced.

“As was obvious to anyone who was in Australia, and should have been obvious to anyone who wasn’t, Root has reached the end of the road as captain. A change will not cure all ills — this is a poor team and England are paying the price for the neglect of the first-class game — but there simply comes a time when a captain has nothing new to say, no new methods of motivating his players and a different voice or different style is required. He had reached that point at the end of the Ashes and nothing has changed. It would have been a cleaner break to have finished then but that decision will now be for the new ECB managing director, with the date for applications for that vacancy having closed on Sunday.”

England captain Joe Root shakes hands with Jason Holder after losing the 3rd Test match at National Cricket Stadium on March 27, 2022. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Atherton has seen England’s sorry demise from close quarters.

The former England opener was in Australia to witness their dreadful tour and was also in the Caribbean for their 1-0 loss.

“How Root could feel he had the right to go on after Australia, or how he could remain in situ while so many others with whom he shared responsibility were sacked, was a mystery, and remains so,” Atherton continued.

“The hope for a fresh start under a man who had already captained England in more Tests than anyone else was optimistic. The decision not to select Broad and Anderson was part of the move to insulate Root’s captaincy, but was fundamentally flawed, meaning that a weaker team than the one for Australia was selected.”

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Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain believe Joe Root’s failures are summed up by the decision to leave Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson at home. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Michael Vaughan, who snapped England’s baron run against Australia by leading them to victory in 2005, was less damning.

Instead, he asked Root to consider the mental toll and whether he was truly the right man to lead England forward.

“Joe has not been helped by individuals in the team. They have not improved themselves. They have got worse. But Joe takes responsibility for that as captain, he knows that in his own mind. Now he has to decide whether it is time for someone else to bear that burden,” Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph.

Vaughan has known Root since he was a child.

His words won’t have been penned easily, but the Ashes-winning captain believes Root is too nice as a captain to push his teammates to greater limits.

“I am sure he is a nice captain to play for because he is a nice guy but when an England side consistently collapses and flaps under pressure, that is on you as a leader. You should be priding yourself as a captain on how well the team respond in tough situations. That is where captaincy credentials shine through,” he continued.

“And this England side for too long under Joe have been allowed to get away with being weak and lacking resilience. There is a soft centre to this England Test match team. That is something the new coach and director of cricket will have to address first.

“When you have one win in 18 there are only so many times you can trot out excuses about bubbles and the county system. Ultimately, are this team and group of players playing to their potential? Nowhere near.”

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England’s pacemen James Anderson (R) and Stuart Broad were sensationally left out of their tour of the West Indies. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

Nasser Hussain, who took England’s batsmen to the cleaners last home summer, believes Root must go, too.

He said the decision for England to leave Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad at home said more about Root’s captaincy than anything else.

By all reports, the fast-bowling duo have not always been easy to manage.

But Hussain said being a strong man-manager was part of the deal of being captain and was an important tool of being a leader.

“Root is a world-class batsman and a very likeable lad but I feel he has never had that instinctive feel for the game as captain,” Hussain wrote in The Daily Mail

“Clearly under Joe and Paul Collingwood in the West Indies England tried to create this atmosphere where they were all mates and all in it together. They want to be a likeable team but you need more than that to win Tests.

“The whole point of captaincy, and the aspect of the role I enjoyed the most, was trying to get the most out of people who did things differently. Those who were a little difficult.”

Hussain pointed to the fact that Anderson and Broad were left out as England began their “re-set”.

Former captains Michael Vaughan (c) with (l-r) Nasser Hussain believe the time has come for Joe Root to stand down.Source: AP

Their axings, which came as a surprise and disappointment to the veteran quicks, came despite being two of England’s stronger performers during the series against Australia, where both were left out of the opening Test on a green top.

“It does not need hindsight to say England have made serious mistakes on this tour and before it. I never understood the decision to leave out Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad. Why would you drop your two greatest bowlers when you are at your lowest ebb?” Hussain wrote.

“England have only won once in the Caribbean in the last 54 years but seemed to be saying they did not rate West Indies. It is a mistake they have made in the past, too, and there is nothing West Indies like more than to use that sort of thing as motivation.

“The decision was clearly disrespectful to West Indies and I never believe you should use Test matches just to experiment and try new people for the sake of it, especially when you’re leaving people of the quality of Broad and Anderson at home.”

So who should England turn to?

All three former skippers said there was no obvious choice and lamented the failings of the England system to not have a natural replacement.

Hussain, however, said sounding out Ben Stokes, whose mental health saw him step away from the game, could prove an issue but he was the strongest option, at least in the short-term.

“The first thing Andrew Strauss will do in the aftermath of another series defeat is appoint a new managing director and then it will be up to them to appoint a new head coach and consider the captaincy,” Hussain continued. 

“And if Joe does not decide to step down himself the decision should be taken out of his hands. Then the new coach should sit down with Ben Stokes and ask him where he is off the field mentally and where he is with his game.

“Ben seems to be playing with passion and fire again and if the coach likes what he hears from him then Stokes should get the job.”



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