England skipper Joe Root defended the inexperienced English batsmen and insisted that he, himself, was at fault more than any other player, and claimed that let the side down by failing to score big runs. Root also stressed that, despite England losing the series, it would be wrong to panic.
After carrying the Three Lions during the winter, the same was expected of Joe Root in the two-Test series against New Zealand, particularly given the fact that a host of senior players were rested. However, the series turned out to be a forgettable one for the England skipper, who astonishingly failed to post a single fifty-plus score. 97 runs was all Root managed across 4 innings, at an average under 25, and the skipper’s forgettable outing compounded the problems for England, who eventually lost the series as a result of their brittle batting.
Root was far from being the number one culprit, but in the aftermath of the series defeat, the England skipper put his hand up and admitted that, with the rest of the batting line-up being inexperienced, he let the team down with his poor showing.
"I think we can be a little bit smarter on occasions. It's somewhere that throughout my career I've got that horribly wrong on occasions, and if you look at the team, as the leading run-scorer within our squad currently, I feel like I've put a lot of pressure on those guys by not performing myself,” Root said on Sunday, reported Cricbuzz.
“As a captain, you pride yourself on getting big runs and leading from the front, and I've not managed to follow through on that. So I've probably compounded that situation slightly," Root said.
The series defeat was England’s first at home in seven years, and hence, understandably, several experts and former cricketers have called for drastic changes on the batting front. But Root defended the batsmen and said that the series was an anomaly. Root stressed that all batsmen who featured have proven themselves in the past, and added that the 1-0 defeat should only serve as a hard lesson.
"Every single one of those guys has proven they can score big Test runs. We've all underperformed this week, I think it would be the wrong time to start panicking and trying to rip up all the hard work we've done for such a long period of time. It's something that historically we've done going into big tournaments and big Test series, and it's made things even worse.
"Ultimately it's about this group of players, taking what's happened this week and making themselves better for it. Becoming more resilient on the back of it and learning some hard lessons. From time to time you have to be able to do it in this format of the game. We shouldn't shy away from that, shouldn't be scared of that, front up to it and come back a better team for it."
Not only is 2021 an Ashes year for England, the Three Lions are also set to face India in a five-Test series in just over a month’s time, a series that could potentially prove to be crucial in the second World Test Championship cycle. The IPL stars - who are currently ironically playing in the T20 blast - are expected to feature in the series, and Root stated that the return of big names will bolster the side. The England skipper also claimed that the management now have a lot more knowledge about those who featured in the two New Zealand Tests, something he described as a positive.
"One thing we have got from these games is that we have more knowledge on certain players that have been in and around the squad for a period of time, and we are better off for that. In terms of having our best 11, I'd like to think that if we are all fit and ready that will be the case for the five-Test matches against India, which is a very exciting series for us," Root said.
"That will give us a huge amount of confidence having that experience back, those guys with cricket behind them coming into that series. It's a little bit more complicated hanging injury risk in the build-up to games. It's not as straightforward as getting straight back into it. That series is something we are very much looking forward to having a full squad of players available to pick from."