England’s star batsman Joe Root has backed Alastair Cook to continue leading the Test side, saying he “is the right man” for the job despite the team’s poor run in the subcontinent, and has also urged young opener Haseeb Hameed to not rest on his laurels and “to keep learning and to keep improving”.
Cook had indicated at the start of the Indian Test tour that he would not carry on as skipper for long, although he would like to continue playing at the highest level as an opening batsman. The England skipper has come under severe criticism following the side’s poor performances.
“I think he is coping all right. He's very professional and you don't really get much from him in that respect. I imagine it must be quite tough being away from a new child and family and everything. You could put a lot of blame on Cooky but actually it is the responsibility of the batters to make those big scores. You can blame whoever you want, but we have to take responsibility for our own game,” Root told ESPNcricinfo.
“I think he is pretty set on captaining for a few years to come and I hope he does because I think he is a brilliant leader and I've really enjoyed playing under him. I'm quite happy with the role I'm playing at the moment and genuinely, honestly I think he is the right man.”
Root is also impressed by the performance of young opener Hameed, who fought the pain of a fractured finger to remain unbeaten on 59 in the second innings of the third Test in Mohali and will miss the remainder two Tests.
“The only advice I gave was, make sure you don't go back to county cricket at the start of the summer and rest on your laurels. Don't think: I'm a Test cricketer now,” he said.
“It's an opportunity to prove to everyone in county cricket that you are there for a reason. You have opportunities to make some really big scores, to keep learning and to keep improving. He has the opportunity to put the good work he has done in India into his game and continue to develop the way he has done.
“The way he played with a broken hand the other day was remarkable. For such a young lad to show composure, to manipulate the strike and also hit some of the best spinners in the world for boundaries was very, very impressive.
“For a 19-year-old lad to come into this environment and be so composed and mature… You watch him practice, and you would think he had played 60 or 70 games. It's great to see someone come in with that attitude and hopefully, that stays with him for a long time.
“He will have different expectations in the future and that might be a different challenge. But he has got a very good head on his shoulders and he should be proud of what he has done so far. Now it is about managing those expectations and being realistic: it's going to take time to keep developing and it might not always go how he wants. But sometimes you have to have those little tumbles to get right to the top. I'm sure that if he does have some hard times, he'll get through it,”he added.