England need Joe Root to move up to number three - Brendon McCullum
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum says that England batsman Joe Root must bat at number three in order to allow him to flourish with the bat during the ongoing Ashes campaign.
The England selectors have decided to drop Gary Ballance for Jonny Bairstow, while promoting Ian Bell to number three in the batting line up with Root slotting in at number four for the third Test at Edgbaston.
In the two Ashes Test matches so far, Root has come out to bat when England were three down in a susceptible position, adding extra pressure on the 24-year-old.
Though Root came out trumps in the first Test by scoring a hundred and a fifty in the two innings, he failed to cope with the burden, producing scores of one and 17 in the second Test.
McCullum thinks that Root will prosper when he comes in at a time when there is limited scoreboard pressure, which will allow him shape the course of the innings instead of dousing the fire of a top-order collapse.
"I've said this before, but it's worth repeating: England need Joe Root to move up to No.3,” wrote McCullum in his column for The Daily Mail.
“At the moment he's walking to the wicket in a crisis each time. Move him up to three and he has a chance to impose himself on proceedings.
“It means he's not always fire-fighting and can shape an innings.”
McCullum cited the example of Steven Smith, who went on to score his maiden double hundred in the second Test, which set Australia on the track for a massive 405-run victory at Lord’s.
"Smith laid the foundations for Australia's win. Root needs to be given a chance to do the same for England," McCullum said.
Even Australian legend and former captain, Ricky Ponting echoed the same view, stating that Root certainly has the technique to succeed as a successful number three batsman.
“He was a county opening batsman when he was picked for England, he would have a technique that would stand up to No.3 in international cricket,” Ponting told Sky Sports.
Before the start of the second Test, Former Australian Captain, Ian Chappell too lent his support for Root’s promotion to number three, in his article for ESPNCricinfo.
“In addition to being a potential England captain, Root has the ingredients to be a successful No. 3 batsman.
"He's technically efficient, plays pace and spin well, and can mount a counter-attack.”
Australia will play Derbyshire in a tour game before heading to Edgbaston for the third Test match in the ongoing Ashes, with the series level at 1-1.
© Cricket World 2015