Woakes backs Root to remain as captain

Woakes backs Root to remain as captain


All-rounder Chris Woakes has backed Joe Root to continue as England Test captain despite the crushing defeat in the Ashes series in Australia.

The huge loss in the third Test put Australia 3-0 up with two Tests to play, meaning Root has not won any of his three Ashes series in charge.

The fourth Test in Sydney will be his 60th as captain, an England record.

“Joe is a great cricketer with a great cricket brain. Hopefully he can continue,” Woakes told BBC Sport.

Root said it was too soon to “look at things too far in the future” when asked about his position as captain following the innings-and-14-run defeat in the third Test in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Appointed in 2017, he is set to pass predecessor Alastair Cook’s England record of 59 Tests in charge when the penultimate Test starts on 4 January.

Root has won more matches – 27 – than any other England captain, but his tally of 24 defeats is also a record.

While England’s batters have struggled, Root’s form has been magnificent this year. Only two players in history have made more Test runs in a calendar year than his 1,708 in 2021.

“We haven’t been able to bat well around him,” said Woakes. “You’d expect us to probably put in a lot stronger performances than we have.

“I’m sure Joe will have many more years like he’s already had and hopefully we can bat better around him.”

Despite his stellar form, Root’s captaincy has come under scrutiny. His decision to bat first in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane backfired, while England’s selections in each of the first two Tests were also questionable.

Asked if Root still has the backing of the England team, Woakes said: “Absolutely.”

Woakes was also asked about the future of coach Chris Silverwood, who has won only one of his past 12 Tests.

“It’s hard for us to focus on people,” said Woakes. “Who am I to talk about people’s futures other than my own?”

England are without a win in 13 Tests in Australia, losing 12 and drawing one.

Pace bowler Stuart Broad has played only one Test on this tour, despite dismissing Australia opener David Warner seven times during the 2-2 draw in England in 2019.

Warner, who has scored 240 runs at an average of 60 in this series, said it was a “great result” that Broad had not been playing.

“I wouldn’t say I was surprised. You might see him play in the next game and maybe Jimmy Anderson miss it,” said Warner.

“They’ve picked Ollie Robinson for a reason. He bowls a good line and length. They have gone with people they feel will be better away from home.”

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