Ind vs Eng: Joe Root wants England batsmen to be ‘a bit braver’, trust their game
England captain Joe Root urged his team to be ‘braver’ and to free themselves from fear in the fourth and final Test match against India starting on Thursday.
Having sustained heavy defeats in the past two matches by 317 runs in Chennai and by 10 wickets in a two-day finish in Ahmedabad, England can still draw the series 2-2.
Ever since Root’s double hundred in the opener of the series which led to the hosts scoring 578 and a landmark win, England have struggled with spinners R.Ashwin and Axar Patel.
Having been bowled out for 134, 164, 112 and 81, Root wants his team to stop being paralysed by worry and must try to land a few more blows on their own.
“We’ve got all the ingredients, all the pieces and all the skills to exploit and succeed in these conditions,” he said.
“It is important we harness that, have it in the front of our mind and be a bit braver actually, play with a little bit more freedom.”
“That doesn’t mean going out there and trying to slog it, or be ultra-aggressive — we need to play our game a certain way but it is about not being scared of the conditions.”
The England captain wants each player to trust their game in the upcoming Test. “Everyone’s idea of what fearless is is slightly different. But being fearless is not having that tentative mentality of being trapped on the crease or being caught in two minds,” explained Root.
“They have to have the freedom to feel like they can go and play, trust their games to go and score runs.”
Off-spinner Dom Bess looks likely to earn a recall after being sidelined for two games. The 23-year-old was initially dropped for Moeen Ali, only to be overlooked again as he flew back home.
Root admits the decision to heavily depend on seamers for the day/night Test in Ahmedabad was an error of judgement and appears ready to give Bess another chance.
“I think if the pitch looks anything like the last one, he’ll be licking his lips at the opportunity,” said the captain.
“You look at the side for the last match and we got that wrong, we read the pitch wrong in terms of the way we selected the team.”