England batsmen should emulate Root - Jason Gillespie
Despite winning the series 3-2 and regaining the urn, England's batting line-up has been a cause of concern as no batsmen apart from Root averaged over 40 with the bat.
Alastair Cook, England's second highest run-scorer in the Ashes, amassed 330 runs at an average of 36.66, a long way behind Root, who averaged 57.50.
After Cook, Moeen Ali is the only batsman to average in the 30s, with Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes averaging in the 20s.
Jos Buttler and opener Adam Lyth were disappointing with the bat, having failed to score a single fifty across five matches while averaging under 20.
Notwithstanding this lacklustre batting effort, Gillespie opined that Root’s positive approach augurs well for the future of English cricket.
“Joe Root, named man of the series for England, epitomises this positive approach and is one of the reasons why I believe the future looks bright,” wrote Gillespie in his column for The Guardian.
“And just to stress this point again, being positive and aggressive is not about trying to smash every ball to the boundary; you can still show this intent when leaving.”
Comparing Root to former Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, Gillespie observed that Root has a terrific technique which allows him to make all the right decisions at the crease.
“Ricky Ponting was a player who did this.
“He would still make a pronounced movement when not offering a shot, meaning the ball went past on his terms.
“Leave with your feet stuck in cement and it betrays indecision, which the bowler will pick up on.
“Joe is cut from the same cloth as Ponting in that he makes good decisions and movements at the crease.”
England’s next Test assignment is in the United Arab Emirates, where in 2012 they lost 3-0 to Pakistan despite going into the series as the number one ranked side.
Noting that spin will play a big role in that series, Gillespie pushed for the section of Adil Rashid, while adding that the 27-year-old needs to be given chances to prove himself.
In a nine-year first-class career, Rashid has an exceptional record, having taken 406 wickets with his leg breaks, at an average of 34.23 from 138 matches.
“Spin will play a big part and Adil Rashid, who has been taken on tours and followed the team around all summer, is at the stage where he needs to play for England to find out about him in Test cricket,” said Gillespie.
“And the sooner the better for me. Give him these three Tests - six innings with the ball on surfaces that will suit him - and they will have their answer.”
Gillespie was also disappointed that Yorkshire batsman Lyth has not been able to come good in the Ashes series.
“On Adam Lyth, I am personally gutted he has not been able to show how good a player he is.
“He knows the numbers don’t stack up and it is down to the selectors now to make their call.”
Suggesting that Cook isn’t the best player of spin bowling, Gillespie pressed for the selection of a right hander to complement Cook, preferably Alex Hales.
“If they (the selectors) go for change, I believe they should look at a right-handed option at the top alongside Alastair Cook in the UAE.
“With all due to respect to Cook - a fine player who, with Kumar Sangakkara now retired, is the leading active run-scorer in Test cricket - spin is not his strongest suit.
“He has a cut shot, drives the genuine half-volley or tucks one off the hips, but he does not leave his crease much.
“And so a right-hander who plays with positive intent could complement Cook rather than another leftie.
“Alex Hales, whom many are suggesting, would go well.”
England will now face Australia in one Twenty20 International and five One-Day Internationals in the limited overs' leg of their ongoing tour, which begins on 31st August.
© Cricket World 2015