'Root's positivity will come through in his captaincy' – Bayliss
Joe Root’s positivity as a batsman will rub off on his team, says Trevor Bayliss © Getty Images
Trevor Bayliss, England’s head coach, has backed Joe Root to bring the same positive intent to his captaincy that he has always brought to his batting, as he prepares to take charge of the Test team for the first time against South Africa at Lord’s next week.
Root inherited the Test role from Alastair Cook, who stepped down after last year’s tour of India, but has been waiting in the wings for the past seven months during a prolonged period of white-ball cricket under the leadership of Eoin Morgan.
However, he has been a pivotal figure throughout England’s rise up the one-day rankings, and speaking at the Investec Test series launch in London, Bayliss said that he would provide Root with whatever backing he needs to shape the team however he sees fit in the coming weeks.
“Certainly the way Rooty goes about his cricket, he’s nice and positive the way he bats, I suspect the way he will captain the team will be similar,” Bayliss said. “We’ve had a few short chats over the last month or so, about the way Rooty wants to attack the game. I suspect we will go a bit deeper into the South African side over the next couple of days.
“My way of operating is the captain’s the one in charge. It’s a bit old-school, but that’s what I believe,” Bayliss added. “They are the ones playing the game. They are the ones who’ve got to have a say in how the game moves forward.
“To all the captains who’ve captained England since I’ve been here, I’ll give them 100 percent backing, if they have got a good argument for what they want do, whether it’s selection, field placement, bowling changes. If they haven’t got a good argument for something, that’s where I might come up with a few ideas myself.”
While England’s one-day performances have caught the eye since Bayliss and his assistant Paul Farbrace took the helm in 2015, the Test team has fallen short of its usual standards. They lost a record eight fixtures in 2016, including two at home to Pakistan in a drawn series last summer, as well five out of seven on their most recent assignments against Bangladesh and India in the subcontinent. The first Test squad of the summer is due to be announced on Saturday morning, and the selectors know that there are plenty of places up for grabs.
“We are perhaps not as settled as we could be,” Farbrace said. “Obviously the selectors this week are going to have a tough decision in terms of looking at the balance and make-up of the side. I think we’ve still got some way to go in terms of being balanced, being organised as a team and probably knowing what our best team is. In one-day cricket, we’re a bit more settled. In Test cricket, we’ve still got a way to go.”
One player who could scarcely seem more settled, however, is Root’s predecessor. Cook had looked careworn at the end of the India tour, after five years and a record 59 Tests in charge, but he has returned to his Essex roots with alacrity this summer, racking up six hundreds in all formats, including 193 in the ongoing contest against the champions, Middlesex, to cement his side’s place at the top of the County Championship standings. It appears that he is in the ideal form and frame of mind to provide Root with a valuable source of wisdom from the corner of the dressing-room.
Trevor Bayliss will take a back seat to allow Joe Root to mould his team as he sees fit © Getty Images
“It’s great that, after giving away the captaincy, he’s still got that hunger to score runs,” Bayliss said. “As an ex-England captain, it will be a bit of a juggling act, but he and Rooty get on very well. Cooky is very well respected in the team and if he thinks something needs to be said, I’m sure he will say it.”
The identity of Cook’s opening partner is less assured, however. Prior to suffering a hand injury in India last year, Haseeb Hameed looked to have made the role his own following an eye-catching debut, but he has struggled for runs for Lancashire this season, and is likely to have to wait his turn for a recall. Keaton Jennings, captaining the Lions against South Africa in Worcester, is a ready-made stand-in, although the claims of Surrey’s Mark Stoneman, thriving at The Oval since his move from Durham last year, cannot be ignored either.
“It’s a surprise to all of us that he’s had the tough time he’s had,” Farbrace said of Hameed’s struggles this season. “The thing that stood out in India was not only the way he practised and played the game, but the nous, the confidence, without being cocky or arrogant, to look completely at home. That was the thing that excited all of us.
“He’s probably trying to work his game out, but he’s definitely got an unbelievable future ahead of him in international cricket,” Farbrace added. “Everything about him suggests he will be a major success, it reminds me of Root, he will go through [bad] periods, and he will be a better player for it.”
Gary Ballance, another player in stellar form this season, is proof of that point. He was cast aside last winter, after mustering 24 runs in four innings against Bangladesh’s spinners, but has been in irresistible form in his maiden season as Yorkshire captain. Against Hampshire in April he scored 108 and 203 not out to lay out his stall for the campaign, and Bayliss expects him to feature heavily in the selectors’ thinking.
“It’s great to see him scoring runs,” he said. “I’m sure he’ll be spoken about in tomorrow’s selection meeting, quite heavily. One thing Gary’s always had in his favour is he’s mentally tough, which is why Read More…
Via:: Cricket – ESPN