People are questioning Joe Root’s England captaincy after Australia retained the Ashes, but for me, he is still the right man for the job.
I am not just saying that because there is no-one else either. We have to back him and he will improve as he goes along. But the problem is, you are only as good as your team and if your team does not perform, the captain is the one who takes the flak. That is the way it goes in cricket.
When it comes down to captaincy, Joe has still won 50 per cent of his games.
Yes, he has lost a few as well. But when it comes down to it, some people were always going to complain.
People said the same about Alastair Cook as they have been about Joe. The captain in cricket is the one who takes all the stick and when you lose, it is going to come through him.
Yes, he has to keep improving. But I will say this – and not because I am a Yorkshireman – I am backing him 100 per cent.
Yes, he has had a poor series with the bat. But his averages have still been pretty good. I think it is a false statistic to look at his series average.
People are suddenly putting these averages in because he has had a poor series.
He has had three ducks, but four fifties. I know it is hard to do it, but if you take out the ducks, he would be similar to his previous averages during his time as captain.
I have said all along that he should be batting at four instead or three and that will possibly happen this winter.
We will have Rory Burns to open – probably with Zac Crawley – and then they need one more to bat at three, with Root at four, Ben Stokes at five and Ollie Pope at six and Bairstow or Buttler at seven.
Eight will probably be Sam Curran and then there’s the nine. They have the spinner and ten or 11 will be Stuart Broad or James Anderson with Jofra Archer. That is the line-up moving forward.
Realistically, the batting has not been good enough.
On Thursday, we were 130-2 and then collapsed and this is happening time and time again. We simply have to sort it out.
In his last seven Tests, Joe Denly has been averaging 23 opening the batting and at four. Jason Roy has been left out and Bairstow has not been getting any runs and is under pressure for his place.
I think they are realising now that we cannot play two keepers in the side in Buttler and Bairstow. One of them is going to have to give and if Jonny does not get any in the second innings, I am a little bit concerned for him.
Because I think that the only reason they did not pick Pope at The Oval is that they are saving him for the New Zealand tour and it is the same with Crawley. I have a feeling they will pick them both for the tour there and that they did not want to choose them for a one-off Test against Australia’s bowlers.
Bairstow is a good player and I am not doubting his talent whatsoever. I think the problem he has had is that until Thursday, Buttler had not been getting any runs and it has put extra pressure on Jonny.
When they fail, people wonder: ‘why are their two keeper-batsmen in the side?’ One keeps in one-day cricket and the other in Tests and none have been averaging 35, batting at six or seven, in this series.
I think Jonny has averaged 20 over the past 12 months and Buttler, until his innings on Thursday, had been averaging 16 in this series. It is not good enough, even if Buttler was rescued slightly on Thursday.
But it is too late. The Ashes have gone.
Looking at both teams, they have both been poor with the bat. You would not mind bowling at Australia as they have made some strange decisions, but they have been fortunate to have had the genius of Steve Smith.
Marnus Labuschagne was not fit at the start of the series, but has come in and been their second-best batsman.
As I said at the start of the series, realistically the only chance we had of winning was playing on pitches that were helpful to swing bowling. We have hardly seen a bowl swing all series and Australia have had the better bowling attack by far.
They have quicker bowlers and on flatter pitches, they were going to be more effective.
I totally get what Anderson was saying at the start of the series and it was what I said too. With the players we had to pick, they had to be helpful conditions for England to bowl on.
But it has not gone that way and we have been outplayed. If it was not for the genius of Ben Stokes at Headingley, we would have been losing 3-1.
The only thing that surprised me a little bit at The Oval on Thursday was that after winning the toss, Australia put us in. I could not believe that as it looked a decent pitch.
With a spinner in their line-up, I thought they would have wanted to bowl last as it will turn.
For us, we seem to rely on who is ever in partnership with Jack Leach to get runs on the board...
Bowling wise, Broad has probably been the pick of our bowlers, bowling at left-handers – although he has struggled with right-handers. Archer has been a very good find, but we knew that anyway and he will get better and better.
It has been a strange series, all told, but they have had the better bowling attack by far and have had the better spinner and seamers to all conditions.
It did not play into our hands. When we go to Australia, we will not be getting pitches to help our bowlers.
With the Ashes gone, I now think that Anderson will carry on. I think he is desperate to get to 600 Test wickets.
But the way I see it, I honestly believe that I want Anderson and Broad to go out on their own account.
I think they are fantastic bowlers – and still are – but realistically, we have got to plan for the future now to make ourselves the best team in the world again.
I think now that one of them has to play now, but not two. I do not know which one it is, but it must just be the one.
For me, we have to build and we must give our younger guys some game-time and experience. So one or the two must not carry on and lead the attack, but not two.
They may alternate them and one may go to New Zealand and the other to South Africa.
Although, to be honest, I would not take either Broad or Anderson to New Zealand. It is not part of the Test Championship.
So I would rest them up for South Africa and you could then use both of them there as you would be giving game-time to the youngsters in England.
Decisions will have to be made as we have Broad, Anderson, Chris Woakes, Craig Overton, Curran, Archer and Wood.
It goes on and on and there will be interesting decisions regarding the pace bowlers going forward.