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Ashes 2021-22 | Joe Root is an excellent batter but a poor captain, states Ian Chappell

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Joe Root, the top-ranked Test batsman currently, hasn't had great success as captain

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Ashes 2021-22 | Joe Root is an excellent batter but a poor captain, states Ian Chappell

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SportsCafe Desk

12/19/2021

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell labelled Joe Root as "an excellent batsman" but called him "a poor captain", describing him as ordinary and unlucky after England’s performance so far in the Ashes. Chappell praised Pat Cummins, saying there is a lot to like about his appointment as captain.

Australia are leading the Ashes series by 1-0, follwing a thumping nine-wicket victory in the series opener in Brisbane, and are currently placed well in the ongoing second Test in Adelaide to go 2-0 up. England, under Joe Root, have won 27 of the 58 Tests, while losing 22, with eight matches ending in a draw.

Their batting lineup is heavily dependent on their captain, which has been evident in the series thus far, with the bowling too lacking impact. Former Australian captain Ian Chappell feels that Root is an excellent batsman but an ordinary and unlucky captain. 

“Root is an excellent batter but a poor captain,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo. “It would not be unfair to describe him as an ordinary and unlucky captain. Rarely do you find a long-term captain who is lacking in imagination but is also lucky. A fortunate captain is usually lucky because the players believe he is some kind of miracle-worker and things tend to work out because of the team's belief.”

Root has been questioned for his team selection in the series, having left the experienced Stuart Broad and James Anderson out in the first Test. Jack Leach was given a place in the series opener, in which he turned out to be expensive, and England headed into the second Test without a specialist spinner, despite the conditions suggesting some assistance for the slower bowlers.

Chappell questioned Root’s decision making as a captain and also pointed out that Jos Buttler's selection depicts England selectors' tolerance of mediocrity. 

“England selectors' tolerance of mediocrity was also on view whenJos Buttler, who is far from their best keeper, was again chosen and made yet more inexcusable blunders," said Chappell. "No amount of blustering bluff at press conferences can cover up for the selection mistakes that have been made by England. It's not that Root's team dislike him - on the contrary - it's just that he has taken so many poor decisions, they must be thinking, "Oh no, not again.”

Chappell was however in all praise of Pat Cummins, who starred in the first Test with a five-for, making a solid beginning to his captaincy career. He believed that the top-ranked Test bowler currently will only have injury concerns and match fitness to worry about in future, after he was sidelined for the ongoing Test, having come in close contact to a covid-19 positive case.

“Cummins acquired the appropriate nickname Postman Pat before he was appointed captain. He is accorded this handle because he regularly delivers, often providing Australia with a wicket when it's needed. There is a lot to like about Cummins' appointment, and he certainly delivered in his first captaincy Test with a five-wicket innings haul at the Gabba,” Chappell said.

“Cummins will improve as a captain because that is what good leaders do: they learn from their mistakes and try to avoid making them in the future. The one question Cummins can't answer is how many Tests he'll miss through injury or Covid regulations. His second-Test hiccup is one he will prefer to have avoided, but having to miss games is something you have to deal with,” he concluded. 

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