NASSER HUSSAIN: England’s defeat by West Indies should signal the END of Joe Root’s captaincy… he is a world-class batsman and a likeable lad but the team needs tougher characters
Joe Root may have won more Test matches than any England captain but only one of those victories has come in his last 18 games now and the time has come for a change at the top.
For me the England captaincy was the best job in the world and it is not one you keep doing simply because there is a perception no-one else is capable of taking over. We are talking about the England captaincy. It is too important for that.
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. 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.
Joe Root’s time as England captain should come to an end after a dismal defeat to West Indies
Sometimes you need those tough characters even if they are difficult to captain and coach. It’s such a cop out to leave out people who are perhaps difficult to manage and pick a team of 10 yes men and yourself.
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.
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.
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 Stokes seems the most likely candidate to be England’s next captain if Root steps down
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.
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?
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.
England have a poor record in the Caribbean, winning only once there in the last 54 years
The decision to leave out Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson is now even harder to understand
They would not have made a difference in the first two Tests but they certainly would have done in Grenada, that is certain.
England had a side with two great bowlers and a misfiring batting line up in the Ashes but all they did in the West Indies was send another misfiring batting line-up and a samey attack, certainly once Mark Wood was injured.
It just defied logic not to take those two with them. They would have set the tone for the rest of the attack there, not least with their fitness where a bowler they did take in Ollie Robinson has been found wanting.
Then someone new they did take to the West Indies and needed to look at in Matt Parkinson did not get a game, even though the second Test pitch in Barbados in particular could well have suited the leg-spinner.
The tour should have been an opportunity to look at Matt Parkinson but he did not get a game
I’m not saying Parkinson would have made a difference to the outcome of the series but what have England learnt playing Craig Overton and Chris Woakes?
Fair play to West Indies. A side often ends up in the mould of their captain and in Kraigg Brathwaite they have a very disciplined leader with a lot of fight and character. Brathwaite and his team have shown a lot of class to win this Test in Grenada.
But for England a very difficult winter comes to an end with much work to do. And a lot of questions to answer, not least for Joe Root.