Hussain: Root is a great ambassador for our game

Nasser Hussain

Cricket Expert & Columnist

“Joe Root is a likeable, thoroughly decent, hasn’t got a selfish bone in his body, sort of lad. He’s a great ambassador for our game, he’s a great ambassador for English cricket,” insists Nasser Hussain, following England’s series sweep in Sri Lanka

Last Updated: 25/01/21 3:16pm

Joe Root has been in sublime form throughout England's two-match series in Galle
Joe Root has been in sublime form throughout England’s two-match series in Galle

England enjoyed the perfect start to a huge year of Test match cricket with a 2-0 series victory in Sri Lanka, as Dom Sibley and Jos Buttler combined to lead the tourists to a six-wicket win in the second Test in Galle.

It marks England’s second consecutive clean sweep in Sri Lanka and their fifth successive win in an away Test match – the first time they have achieved such a milestone since 1914.

Joe Root was central to England’s success throughout the series, amassing 426 runs at an average of 106.50, and Sky Sports Cricket‘s Nasser Hussain hailed Root’s leadership as England captain following their latest subcontinent success.

‘Root a great ambassador for our game’

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Nasser Hussain says England are a likeable team who play cricket the right way and are led by a ‘great ambassador’ in Root
Nasser Hussain says England are a likeable team who play cricket the right way and are led by a ‘great ambassador’ in Root

It’s not that important when it comes to wins and losses because everyone is judged by that, but actually, it’s a likeable team. It is a team that plays the right way.

It is a team that when they win, they go off and clap their lone supporter. It is a team whose captain rings that lone supporter up.

It is a team that when they give interviews – whether it be Dan Lawrence or Dom Sibley – they are very honest, honest in a good way and honest in a bad way, like Stuart Broad last summer: ‘I think I should be playing’.

I know it’s not always important, but a team will follow a captain in so many ways – Joe Root is a likeable, thoroughly decent, hasn’t got a selfish bone in his body, sort of lad. He’s a great ambassador for our game, he’s a great ambassador for English cricket.

We will knock him when they lose, but that is captaincy. We’ve been there. When you’re winning, everyone sings highly about you, and when you lose, you get knocked.

One thing shouldn’t be in doubt, that Joe Root is a great ambassador for our game, and is a very fine captain in that regard.

Day to forget for Dinesh Chandimal?

It was a day to forget for Sri Lanka's stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal
It was a day to forget for Sri Lanka’s stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal

It was poor captaincy today [from Chandimal]. He had the same plans virtually for every player, and you can’t tell me that Root, Buttler, Bairstow and Sibley play the same way, so why would you have the same plans for all of them?

I thought it was very odd to Dom Sibley. Dom Sibley – everyone knows just knocks the ball legside. Ball after ball goes legside, and he didn’t stop those singles at all.

I thought Chandimal had a shocking day actually. It started with not enough runs on the board so that is why you have those tactics, and he never really changed them.

Even towards the end, they didn’t bring them up. It was just too easy for them.

England have confidence and momentum

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Root says England showed great ‘maturity, poise and calmness’ as they wrapped up a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second Test
Root says England showed great ‘maturity, poise and calmness’ as they wrapped up a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second Test

It is never easy to win in Sri Lanka. It’s never easy to win when you’ve lost the toss twice. England have done it the hard way, having to field and especially on this one [pitch], this was an absolute belter.

This was arguably a more important toss to win because it was very good for two days, whereas the other one spun from day one, so you were in the game throughout, so this in particular was an excellent game to win.

That’s five away Test wins in a row, four series on the spin and when you’ve got a new coach coming in, [Chris] Silverwood on the back of [Trevor] Bayliss, Test match cricket and red-ball cricket needed changing.

That’s a really good sign that they’re doing that, with harder tasks ahead. The Ashes, India home and away, New Zealand confirmed today, but that is great momentum and confidence going into an iconic series which is India away.

‘India won’t be bullied; pick your best team!’

Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow are both set to be rested for part of England's four-match Test series against India in February
Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow are both set to be rested for part of England’s four-match Test series against India in February

Any side that can go to Australia, go 1-0 down after being bowled out for 36, lose Kohli because he’s going home on paternity leave, lose your bowling attack and still come back and win after some of the stuff that went on off the field in Australia, they won’t be bullied.

They are a tough side. I think Kohli has instilled that. Make no mistake, at home, they are a formidable outfit.

Maybe it is because I was brought up in India and I’ve always seen India vs England as one of the great series – all I would have asked is turn up to Chennai with your best 13 to 15 players.

I think England fans have earned the right for their best team to be there that first day. If it means Broad and Anderson playing together because it’s a bit green, worry about the Ashes down the line.

Worry about New Zealand down the line, pick your best team for what is going to be a fabulous series, and then rotate from there.

I applaud Ed Smith and his selectors – trying to think outside the box, trying to manage a group of players.

Personally, if I was England captain, if I was Joe Root on this roll that they are going on, I’d say: ‘We’re going from Sri Lanka, we’re popping across the ocean to India, let’s go there, pick our best side and manage down the line’.

Source : Sky Sports