Ashes 2021-22 | Hard to see Joe Root remain captain if the tour continues to go this badly, feels Michael Atherton
Joe Root has been criticized for his captaincy during the ongoing Ashes seres|
Michael Atherton feels that if England's ongoing Ashes tour tour continues to go badly, it will be hard to see Joe Root continuing as the captain. Atherton also questioned head coach Chris Silverwood for the team selections, after the visitors suffered crushing defeats in the first two Tests.
Australia are leading the Ashes 2021-22 by 2-0 with their recent 275-run win at the Adelaide Oval. They have been a dominating side in the series and have completely outclassed their opponents, having earlier taken the series opener in Brisbane by nine wickets. As for England, their batting has collapsed at crucial junctures, while the bowling unit has largely been ineffective. They are now staring at a third consecutive Ashes series defeat Down Under, having lost 5-0 in 2013-14 and 4-0 in 2017-18.
Former England captain Michael Atherton feels that Joe Root will not retain his captaincy if the team’s poor outing continues in the series.
"If the tour continues to go this badly, it is hard to see how Root will remain as captain. Ashes tours have often done for England captains and Root is nearer the end of his cycle than the beginning. There is not a rash of alternatives, but the notion that there is no one to take over is the worst rationale for keeping the job." Atherton told The Times.
England’s team selection has been criticized heavily after their loss in Adelaide, especially on the bowling front. The tourists benched the experienced James Anderson and Stuart Broad for the first Test and Jack Leach, the lone spinner preferred, went for 102 in his 13 overs with a lone wicket. He was sidelined for the pink-ball Test, and the conditions suggested that England did miss a specialist spinner.
Meanwhile, head coach Chris Silverwood backed the squad selection, saying that he would pick the same team again. Atherton however, blamed Silverwood for poor squad selection and has said that the decision to give the responsibility of selection to the head coach was a bad one.
"As the head coach and main selector, he has to shoulder along with Joe Root. There have been a rash of poor decisions so far - selection, mainly - for which he now has the final call. For the past 12 months, lots of selections have been suspect; the move to invest responsibility for selection with the head coach was always a bad one,” he remarked.
The third Test of the series will start from December 26 in Melbourne. Atherton has suggested some changes for the Boxing Day Test, voicing for Mark Wood and Jack Leach's inclusion.
"Bring in Mark Wood and Jack Leach, leave out Chris Woakes and whichever one of the other three seamers conditions and/or state of fitness demand. The batting needs urgent attention more generally, but given that no one else has played any cricket, I would give the same batsmen another chance,” he suggested.
Atherton also took a dig at the ECB and said that the pitches are poor and the standard of first-class cricket is poor in the country.
"The County Championship has been hollowed out by the decision to play the T20 Blast and the Hundred in the main summer months, thus relegating the championship to the margins of the season. Pitches are poor, the standard of first-class cricket is poor,” he said.