Yorkshire CCC’s Joe Root backed to lead England’s charge to regain Ashes

Ashley Giles has backed Joe Root to lead England’s next Ashes mission, saying regaining the urn in Australia represents “the Holy Grail” for the Yorkshireman.

Saturday, 16th November 2019, 8:58 am
LEADING ROLE: England captain Joe Root speaks with coach Chris Silverwood and director of men's cricket Ashley Giles at Cobham Oval in Whangarei. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

England were unable to overcome Australia on home soil in a Test series for the first time in 18 years this past summer, but attention has already shifted towards the next contest Down Under in 2021/22.

Root has presided over two unsuccessful campaigns against Australia but there is a recognition from Giles that England’s Test fortunes in recent years were encumbered by their successful pursuit of the World Cup.

Giles, the managing director of the England men’s team, wants to redress the balance with an aim to give Root the best chance to make it third time lucky against Australia.

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England captain Joe Root speaks with coach Chris Silverwood at Cobham Oval. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

“We have talked about him leading and winning in Australia,” said Giles in a radio interview. “We’ve not said ‘maybe if you get there’. We plan for him to be our captain.

“It will come round quickly as we know with the business of the schedules. None of us know what is around the corner, things can change quickly.

“But in our planning when we sat down (before the start of the last Ashes series), we were looking to Australia.

“That’s the Holy Grail for him. Going to Australia and winning is the big prize and we have enough time to plan for that.

“Whatever people say there was definitely more focus on white-ball teams in the past few years. We’re not moving everything to Test cricket, we’ve got to find a balance on all forms that are important to us.

“We’ll see a more traditional way and playing the long game with ball or bat. Sometimes with ball you have to stick in, refer to plan A and if in doubt go back to plan A.”

Giles believes it is crucial Root and head coach Chris Silverwood, who was appointed as the successor to Trevor Bayliss last month, find a method to succeed in Test cricket.

He added: “This is a really exciting period, this new relationship with Chris Silverwood. With these two, we’ve talked about them finding a DNA for Test cricket. What do they want their Test team to look like? I don’t think we’ve seen that for a couple of years now.”

Giles was speaking in Whangarei, where England are in their final preparations ahead of the Test series against New Zealand, while an onerous winter schedule next takes in South Africa before a trip to Sri Lanka.