Joe Root starts a crucial captaincy year with the help of Jos Buttler


If Test cricket is on the decline, nobody seems to have said that to England. A year of 17 test matches kicks off the upcoming series in Sri Lanka – a figure achieved only once in 2016 and which inevitably led to the resignation of his captaincy by an exhausted Alastair Cook. Joe Root will lead the team a total of 61 times in 2021, surpassing Cook’s 59-game streak. While other players will miss tests over the 12-month span, which also involves up to 28 bilateral white-ball matches and a T20 World Cup, Root just wants to sit out some of the short games. Joe Root insists that covid cases will not end the tour of England to Sri LankaContinue readingThis test build-up is a result of the pandemic. The two matches in Sri Lanka, beginning on January 14, were expected to take place last March, while talks with New Zealand regarding two home matches in June are a case of English cricket seeking to recover some of the £ 100 million it lost last season, regardless of whether the better-placed Black Caps reach the final of the Test World Cup. Each side of this extra New Zealand series, 9 tests against India and an Ashes campaign to finish (taking the total to 18 tests when included in the first week of 2022), will pit England against the top three teams in the rankings.

For the legacy of Root as captain, it will be a critical time and a squad he says is on an upward curve. Crucial would be how physically and mentally the multi-format players cope, not least with the Indian Premier League as a factor and the much-discussed blister fatigue during the pandemic that has become an acute issue. To that end, during this first tour, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer are the first to need to rest. The absence of Stokes in Sri Lanka means that Root will be without his usual vice-captain – without his deputy, he has never won on the track – and Jos Buttler will be No. 2 in the meantime.

Buttler will still hold the gloves, even though the team includes Ben Foakes, a star in the 2018 3-0 win on the island. For that to change, it would have to be a genuinely unusual circumstance,”It would have to be a really unique situation for that to change,” “Jos just scored 152 [against Pakistan in the last Test in August]and is probably in the best form you’ve ever seen in Test cricket. “Jos was an important part of our success at the end of the summer as a member of the squad in great form.

” said Root, who announced that Foakes is likely to get his chance during the ensuing India series, while Buttler is expected to return home to rest at half-time. If he [Foakes] gets that chance, he has to take it,” said Root, who announced that during the ensuing India series, Foakes is likely to get his chance, while Buttler is expected to return home to rest at half-time. If he [Foakes] gets that chance, he has to take it,”We can prepare for the Ashes – there’s no excuse this time “We can prepare for the Ashes – this time there’s no excuse. For some – not least when facing a team like India – the rotation strategy may be inconvenient, but management sees it as a realistic solution to the sheer volume of cricket and, as the example of Foakes demonstrates, believes it will fuel competition for places. Others likely to trigger selection headaches are Jonny Bairstow and Dan Lawrence, who seem to be the beneficiaries of Ollie Pope’s delayed return from shoulder surgery and Rory Burns’ paternity leave in Sri Lanka, while Mark Wood is expected to be able to put a disappointing 2020 behind him in the absence of Archer. Which of them will prevail in Brisbane’s first Ashes Test remains to be seen.

But it will be interesting to watch how it all happens over the course of next year – a sardine can of games that will test endurance like never before.


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