Ashes 2019, The Ashes 2019, England vs Australia 2019, England vs Australia, Joe Root, Geoffrey Boycott
Root, who presided over the 4-0 defeat in Australia in 2017-18, is England’s first captain not to win the series on home soil since Nasser Hussain in 2001. @ AFP

While Joe Root has no doubts that he is the right man to captain England, former skipper Geoffrey Boycott feels Root should consider stepping down.

Australia ensured they retain the Ashes after winning the fourth Test at Manchester on Sunday by 185 runs. Root, who presided over the 4-0 defeat in Australia in 2017-18, is England’s first captain not to win the series on home soil since Nasser Hussain in 2001.

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“Joe Root is such a likeable lad, a quality batsman and nobody wants to hurt or humiliate him but I’m afraid he lacks any feel for captaincy,” Boycott wrote in his column for The Telegraph.

“His captaincy has been very disappointing and he has to seriously think about whether he is suited for the job and whether it is affecting his batting. Captaincy is a gift. It comes naturally to some people and you cannot learn it from a book.

“You learn it as a young man watching your peers and elder players in the team. You need a feel for it. Some of the best captains had little or no experience of the job before they led England, such as Michael Vaughan and Ray Illingworth, but turned out to be brilliant at it.

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“Captaincy is like playing chess. You have to think two steps ahead. A match can be nip and tuck for long periods then, when you see an opportunity, you have to attack. I am afraid Joe does not see his chance early or quick enough, and sometimes he does not see it at all.”

Boycott added: “As much as we all love Joe, it seems he does not have a feel for the nuances of the game. There have been crucial moments in all the matches and England have very rarely grasped them. Australia have always been mentally stronger and won the key moments.

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“The selectors will not want to take the captaincy off him. They are not sure who to give it to instead and they will not want to humiliate our best batsman by sacking him publicly. But he has not batted very well for a while and the team spend too long drifting to challenge good sides such as Australia. He has to spot an opportunity and be positive but Joe goes on the negative too often too soon.”

Meanwhile, Root is convinced he can still lead England. “Definitely, yes,” the 28-year-old said when asked if he still felt he was the right man for the job. “Whenever you lose a series it hurts and I have to take that on the chin. It’s still very raw.

“You have to look at areas you want to get better at, both in yourself and as a team. But I have been given a fantastic opportunity to captain the Test side and will continue to work very hard doing my best at that. That is in my control and I have to make sure I keep getting this team in the best shape to win as many games as possible.”