I HAVE got to say that I think Joe Root has come on massively as England captain during this Sri Lanka tour, I really do.
His captaincy skills and maturity has shone through and he is growing into the role. He is really starting to stamp his authority.
I do think it takes any captain a little bit of time to get his grip on any team. But this year and especially on this tour, Joe has been outstanding. He has managed three spinners for the first time in his career, for instance.
The things that he has done off the field have been great too. He went to the landmines clearing project on Monday and it was a great thing to do. He did not have to do it, but went there as captain.
Then on Monday night, all the players had a party at the team hotel and invited all the ex-players to a quiz night to raise money for the Movember charity event – another good thing to do.
Regarding the final Test in Sri Lanka, which started on Friday, it is great that Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad have been given an opportunity, but it does not half put the cat amongst the pigeons regarding future selection.
Jonny has been desperate to get back in, gone about things the right way and got on with it. But it is kind of weird that he has come back to bat at No 3. England have had Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes at three in Sri Lanka and now it is Bairstow, but we are still asking questions going forward.
It is a big, big Test match for Broad. He made his debut in Sri Lanka in 2007 and got 1-95 and Colombo is not an easy ground to bowl on for a seamer. It is not straightforward for him.
But if Bairstow and Broad do well, it makes it a hard selection going forward. Although that is not necessarily a bad place to be.
Jimmy Anderson has been rested and it is amazing, isn’t it.. If you were in any other country and someone said: ‘Jimmy, I would like you to sit it out’ you can imagine what he would have said.
Perhaps, the only argument is whether England should have looked at Olly Stone. But they might have looked at the pitch and just thought it was slow and flat – probably a bad time to bring in Olly for a first cap.Darren Gough
But realistically, I think it is the right decision. Jimmy only has so many balls left and you have to get him through to the end of South Africa next winter. One more go in the West Indies, another Ashes and then a blast in South Africa and New Zealand and then I think that is it. Another sixty or seventy Test wickets would be ideal.
Perhaps, the only argument is whether England should have looked at Olly Stone. But they might have looked at the pitch and just thought it was slow and flat – probably a bad time to bring in Olly for a first cap.
For me, all England are now lacking is a strike bowler – someone with it a bit more about them. They have lots of variety, but have not got that ‘express’.
Onto the Dele Alli and Ross Barkley hotel video going viral and for me, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that someone takes a video of them at 5am in the morning and is providing coverage – when they do not know what conversations are going on.
The problem we have got now is that here are two internationals who have basically a week off before they play again. Then, they are videoed and someone presumes what is happening by talking over a video and calling them all sorts of names.
I have always said that sportsmen need down-time. In previous examples, we have seen this can go too far, certainly with the England cricket team in the past.
You have to keep your wits about you. England cricket players now have a curfew in place where they cannot be out of their hotel after midnight, which I believe is the right thing.
Inside the hotel, they can have a drink. We had a situation on Monday night where the team celebrated with ex-players after winning the series and had a drink, which they were entitled to as they were not playing until Friday. Job done, they were allowed a drink and had one in the hotel and had a great time.
But the last thing you want to worry about is people, everywhere you go, taking photos and judging you without knowing what is going on. It annoys me and it does cause problems, like it did with the person in the hotel who was hiding and filming Alli and Barkley.
That is why the gap is growing between sportsmen and the public.