West Indies v England - Third Test: England captain Joe Root willing to carry on in role while he is wanted
Root made it clear he was committed for the long-haul after surviving the post-Ashes shake-up and has attempted to set the team in a new direction since arriving in the Caribbean.
While it is clear that Root continues to enjoy the support of the squad, the England and Wales Cricket Board is currently recruiting a new managing director of men’s cricket with specialist red and white ball coaches expected to follow.
The continuation of the Root era hinges on those appointments, but the man himself has more pressing concerns.
After back-to-back draws in Antigua and Barbados, there is everything to play for in Grenada over the next five days – not least a first Test win of the winter and a first series win in 14 months.
“I think I’m the right man to take the team forward, if the head coach comes in and thinks differently, that’s fine, that’s their decision,” he said.
“While I’m in this position, I’ll do everything I can to make this team as good as I possibly can. I’m a massive England fan. I just want to see us do well. I’ll keep doing everything I can to make us as good as we can be and if that means in time I’m no longer in this position, I’ll still do everything I can to help this team and to try to take us to be the best team in the world.
“That will never change. That passion for making England as good as we can be will always be there, whatever capacity I have within this team. I really hope I get that opportunity but it’s completely out of my control. The thing that is in my control is helping this team put in a really strong performance to win this series.
“Off the back of a very difficult winter, it would be a great way to round things off and a great way to start this year.”
While there have been notable positives in the England camp over the past couple of weeks, with Ben Stokes roaring back to form, Dan Lawrence and Zak Crawley both growing in stature and Jack Leach settling into his work as No 1 spinner, a late stumble in St George’s would undermine much of that work.
A third straight draw would probably see the trip filed away as a forgettable detour, while defeat would force even harder questions about the team’s direction. For a side with only one Test success in their last 16 attempts, there really is only one satisfactory outcome.
“As time goes on, the one thing you never want is for a side to forget how to win,” Root said.
“If we keep playing as we are and keeping putting ourselves in the positions we have in the previous two Tests, we will find ourselves winning games again.
“The most pleasing thing is every game we’ve not had that nightmare session that’s cost us the Test. We’ve looked at each individual session and each hour and look to win each and every one of them.”
With the pitch expected to offer more assistance to pace bowlers than the two lifeless surfaces in Antigua and Barbados, the prospects of playing Matt Parkinson as a second spinner appear to be receding.
One change is anticipated, with Craig Overton favourite to replace Yorkshire’s Matthew Fisher after recovering from illness. Former Yorkshire bowler Ollie Robinson is set to miss out again after another fitness setback.