YORKSHIRE’S Joe Root has been defended as England captain by former assistant coach Paul Farbrace following Sunday’s defeat to Australia at Old Trafford that saw the tourists retain the Ashes.
Australia took a 2-1 lead in the series with one Test remaining as they completed a 185-run victory in Manchester. Root - who has stressed his belief he remains the right man to be skipper - was out for a duck for the third time in the series on Saturday evening.
When asked if England would benefit from having Root freed from the captaincy, Farbrace said: “That’s always the question that comes up after every series. Don’t forget this is the first time England have lost a home series since 2014.
“One thing England haven’t had for the last few years is a solid top order, and we haven’t got too many players in county cricket who are banging the door the down to say ‘I am England’s next top Test opener’. Rory Burns has shown through this series he’s got the skill and the ability and the mental capacity to open the batting for England. Fantastic.
“We need other people at the top of the order to score runs. It isn’t just Joe Root. Joe Root is under enormous pressure. He is England’s best player, he puts himself under extraordinary pressure and he knows the results this summer haven’t been good enough.
“But up until this summer his record as captain has been very good. And yes his average has dropped whilst he has been captain - that has happened to every captain that has ever played the game probably.”
Joe Root is under enormous pressure. He is England’s best player, he puts himself under extraordinary pressure and he knows the results this summer haven’t been good enough.Paul Farbrace
Farbrace, who has no doubt the runs of Australia’s Steve Smith have been “the difference” in the series, feels Root’s England have shown character and individuals have shone at times, but that there has not been a “team performance.”
Farbrace said: “Of course there are always reasons to be optimistic. Yesterday in tough conditions against a fantastic attack, I thought England showed real character. And that is the thing - under Joe Root, the team shows real character.
“But we have to admit on this occasion we have been beaten by the better team.
“Australia comfortably have been the best team, they’ve got the best players and they’ve played the best cricket as a team, and that’s something England haven’t done.
“There’s been lots of individual performances, but there hasn’t been a team performance.”