By News Team
11th January 2022
Former bowler Monty Panesar has told us that he believes Joe Root could step down from his role as England captain after the Ashes, unless the ECB listens to his concerns about what is best for the future of the Test team.
Root’s captaincy has been called into question by some following England’s disappointing Ashes campaign, but Panesar says he is the only man for the job and that the ECB must consider the batter’s requests or risk losing him.
“I do believe Joe Root is the right person to lead this England team,” Panesar said. “But Joe Root will only go forward if he says ‘I want my best XI from now on. I don’t want to be second best to different policies like the rest and rotation policy.’ He wants his best XI and the ECB needs to listen to his concerns and what he would like to see happen as well. That is going to be a pivotal discussion. If the ECB listen to Joe Root’s requests, then I’m sure that he will stay on as captain.
“There isn’t a ready-made replacement as captain, so I think there is no option but for the ECB to listen to Joe Root ahead of the English cricketing summer. I think the series between England and South Africa (in August) is probably a fair reflection of where England are at. India and Australia are probably the two strongest Test nations right now, and England v South Africa is a fair reflection of where both teams are right now. By the end of the summer, if Joe Root can bring some success to this English team then he’ll have done a great job.”
Panesar added: “Sam Billings could potentially make his debut (in the fifth Ashes Test) and he’s a natural leader at Kent. So England may think, depending on Joe Root’s decision, that they go with Billings as their new wicket-keeper if he plays well at Hobart. But there’s a lack of leaders coming through the English game – Ben Stokes is obviously a natural one, you’ve got Billings, but Joe Root is the key person and he should remain as captain.”
There have also been calls for England head coach Chris Silverwood and managing director Ashley Giles to step down after the tour, though Panesar feels a positive result in the fifth Ashes Test this week would help them.
“The drawn (fourth) Test match has kind of taken the heat off Chris Silverwood and Ashley Giles for the moment,” he said. “But if in the next Test match they can compete and win, I think it could save their jobs. So that result is going to have a big influence on some of the bigger decisions that may take place once the series is over.”
Stuart Broad took five wickets for England in the fourth Test and Panesar feels leaving the bowler out earlier in the series was a big mistake from the selection team.
“Stuart Broad is a brilliant performer, a very intelligent cricketer,” he said. “I do think they missed a trick there. We all know he should have played earlier in the series, he’s not been utilised. Maybe he wasn’t as effective in the training sessions, but you put him in a match context and you see he loves the challenge and loves performing. He should have been used a lot more, but this is what Joe Root, Chris Silverwood and Ashley Giles are going to have to face. Questions will need to be answered when they review the tour.
“Why wasn’t Stuart Broad starting in the first Test match? That is an automatic selection. That is where they lost the upper hand in the first Test. David Warner seeing that the guy that keeps getting him out is not playing will have given him huge confidence and actually got him back in form. That was a selection error, it was nothing to do with whether this team has the ability to win the Ashes. It was to do with selection errors, errors in the decision-making. This is all about leadership qualities where you need to make the right decision that will ultimately get called under question.”
Another player to impress in the fourth Test for England was Zak Crawley, who struck 77 in the second innings – and Panesar is hoping to see more consistency from the batter moving forwards.
“Zak Crawley just needs to be consistent with his game plan,” he said. “The conditions in Hobart might see a little more seam movement. He’s a little bit erratic outside of off-stump, so if he can tighten that side of the game up… Some of the shots he played were beautiful to watch. He’s very organised in his mind, he knows what shot to play and he’s not intimidated by it. Hopefully we’ll see more consistent performances. It was great to see, exactly what we wanted to see from others at the start of the series. Hopefully now he can string some good performances together and play in this way. He likes to score runs. It’s just about how he responds when the conditions are slightly more favoured to bowlers, finding a way to stay in there and not giving his wicket away.”
Panesar says England need to get their selections right this time around heading into the final Test, but he is backing the tourists to secure a first win of the tour.
He said: “England getting a positive result could depend on if Jonny Bairstow will be available and if he plays. That’s an important one for me. Also, how Zak Crawley handles the spin bowling… I’d like to see Haseeb Hameed playing again, even though everyone is calling for Rory Burns. It really depends on some of these selections. If Bairstow, Stokes and (Jos) Buttler all aren’t playing then it’s going to be a huge ask on the four England seamers and how they perform and if they are able to bowl Australia out for 200. But as it stands, I’m going to say England can win the Test match at Hobart.”