Root’s bat­ting is not an is­sue but his tac­ti­cal choices are

Cap­tain made a num­ber of mis­takes in Manch­ester, although it is a pos­i­tive that he is still get­ting re­sults

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport / Second Test - Michael Vaughan

Joe Root is tak­ing a bit of stick and crit­i­cism as cap­tain, mainly be­cause he is not scor­ing as many runs as he did be­fore he took the job.

He has cap­tained in 42 Tests now. He has won 23. He is on a run of six vic­to­ries. We need to re­mem­ber that. Also, for his first 33 Tests as cap­tain, Eng­land were pre­oc­cu­pied with win­ning the World Cup.

It is only since Chris Sil­ver­wood was ap­pointed head coach that English cricket has be­come more geared to­wards the Test team. This will be Joe’s 10th Test as cap­tain work­ing with a head coach and a spe­cific plan for Test cricket. They re­alised the Test team were not play­ing in the right way or style. That has changed since last sum­mer and we have seen bet­ter re­sults be­cause of it.

I worry less about his bat­ting than his tac­ti­cal de­ci­sions. He has never looked com­pletely out of sync with the bat. He rarely has a week when he scores five and nought.

Peo­ple say he has not made big scores be­cause of the cap­taincy, but Joe has never re­ally made big scores con­sis­tently. He has al­ways made fifties or seven­ties without go­ing on, so I do not buy the the­ory that cap­taincy has af­fected his pow­ers of con­cen­tra­tion be­cause I do not think he has ever had great pow­ers of con­cen­tra­tion.

But one area he can im­prove is his tac­ti­cal de­ci­sion-mak­ing. After 42 matches, he has to be a bit clev­erer, smarter and read game sit­u­a­tions bet­ter. At Old Traf­ford, he got away with a lot. But one won­der­ful match-win­ning part­ner­ship should not stop you as a leader ad­mit­ting you made mis­takes.

Cap­taincy is sim­i­lar to be­ing a player; you have to an­a­lyse your per­for­mance with coaches. Joe has to think back to what hap­pened at Old Traf­ford. Bowl­ing two spin­ners up to the sec­ond new ball to Shan Ma­sood and Shadab Khan com­pletely changed the mo­men­tum of the game.

On the first af­ter­noon of the match, rain was forecast and Eng­land switched off. But in the sec­ond in­nings, when Joe knew he had to bowl Pak­istan out cheaply, he was on it. He re­alised Eng­land had to win every ses­sion. He is al­ways much bet­ter in those sit­u­a­tions.

Eng­land bowled dots and built pres­sure. He just had to rely on highly skilled bowl­ing and set sen­si­ble fields.

The one thing I would re­mind him of is the adage that you start the morn­ing with your best two bowlers from the pre­vi­ous day. On that fourth morn­ing, when Pak­istan were still bat­ting, he went for a Jofra Archer burst and he was hit to all parts. Against a bet­ter team, that could lose you a Test.

But it is a mas­sive pos­i­tive that Joe keeps win­ning de­spite his mis­takes be­cause the re­sult is ev­ery­thing at this level. His team show a huge amount of char­ac­ter. Some­times we want the per­fect per­for­mance where you ham­mer sides, but to beat a tal­ented Pak­istan team on a pitch that suited them more than Eng­land showed a lot of men­tal strength.

The most im­por­tant ques­tion to ask is: are play­ers will­ing and want­ing to play for him? Ab­so­lutely. Do you ever hear a player or coach who has been in the sys­tem com­ing out of it and crit­i­cis­ing Joe? No.

He knows he is not the per­fect cap­tain. He is not one who thinks he does ev­ery­thing right. We want per­fec­tion. We want some­one who can av­er­age 50, not make any tac­ti­cal er­rors and win. But that will never hap­pen.

He does have to sit down with Archer and un­der­stand him. But Jofra also needs to un­der­stand what the team want from him. Who is he? I think we know his char­ac­ter. We can see that on so­cial me­dia. But what kind of bowler is he for this Eng­land Test team?

I think for Eng­land to win in Aus­tralia they will need a pace bowler con­sis­tently bowl­ing fast on their pitches. Can Joe con­vince Jofra to buy into bowl­ing quickly for longer pe­ri­ods? If that means he misses the odd Test to rest, then I would take that.

Eng­land want him in Bris­bane, Perth, Syd­ney and, pos­si­bly, Mel­bourne, de­pend­ing on the pitch. Can Eng­land get him bowl­ing quickly con­sis­tently to make him a threat? That is down to the cap­tain. He has to put his arm around him and ex­plain why. We have four seam­ers, he is the point of dif­fer­ence and that is why he is in the team.

If he can­not de­liver that, then man­age him to be the best crick­eter he can be for the team. If Jofra is not the guy who bowls 90mph reg­u­larly then look else­where be­cause Eng­land need pace. We do not want to hear Archer say­ing things like Old Traf­ford was not a bowl-quick pitch. You can bowl quick on every pitch.

Most im­por­tantly, Eng­land are go­ing in the right di­rec­tion to achieve some­thing very spe­cial. They have a lot of char­ac­ter, and strength in depth to try to com­pete against Aus­tralia.

Will they win in Aus­tralia? Not so sure. Will they lose 4-0 or 5-0? No, I don’t think so. This is not an Eng­land team who should be ham­mered.

After 42 matches he has to be a bit clev­erer, smarter and read game sit­u­a­tions bet­ter

Leader: Joe Root has an im­pres­sive re­cent record as cap­tain, but must ad­dress his mis­takes

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