English cricket is a rudderless ship; give Root a break from captaincy: David Lloyd

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Former England cricketer David Lloyd wants Joe Root to take a break from captaincy to concentrate on his batting following another Test series loss, this time against the West Indies. The 75-year-old Lloyd added that England’s top order was “a mess”, which was forcing Root to move up at No.3 and resulting in his cheap dismissals.

West Indies registered a 10-wicket win on the fourth day of the third Test at Granada after the first two drawn matches to secure a 1-0 series win over England on Sunday. Needing just 28 runs for a win after bowling England out for 120 in the second innings, West Indies’ openers — Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell chased down the target in 4.5 overs as the game ended within the first session on Day 4.

The series loss to West Indies comes following England’s 0-4 drubbing in the Ashes in Australia, which led to coach Chris Silverwood stepping down and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) making wholesale changes in the squad for the West Indies Test tour, leaving out pace bowling stalwarts Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad.

“Joe Root is a world-class player but he looks like he has the world on his shoulders right now, so it might be time for him to have a break from the captaincy,” Lloyd opined in his column for Daily Mail on Monday.

“Pass the armband to someone else, goodness knows who, because there is hardly a posse of candidates, and allow him to concentrate on his batting. There were two cheap dismissals for Root in this game, having moved up to No 3 again. Why has he done that? Simple. We haven’t got a No 3. It’s a mess,” added Lloyd.

Lloyd, who played nine Tests, felt that the skipper did not have the players he wants at his disposal. Root has endured a miserable 12 months of cricket for England, and the team is currently at the bottom of the World Test Championship (WTC) percentage points table behind Bangladesh.

“The sympathy I have with him (Root) is that I do not think he got the team he wanted. After Australia, he said he wanted his strongest team in the West Indies, yet England go with some half-baked selections and without Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson, who obviously would be in it. And that’s just the start. They might as well change everything now because we are at rock bottom; there is absolutely no doubt about that.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) under interim director of men’s cricket, Andrew Strauss, made wholesale changes to the squad that toured the West Indies for the three-Test series, leaving out Broad, Anderson — the country’s two leading wicket-takers in Test cricket –, Dom Bess, Sam Billings, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan in the wake of the 0-4 Ashes drubbing.

“The chickens have come home to roost. English cricket is a rudderless ship. There is no director of cricket, no head coach and no direction. Andrew Strauss said a squad was specifically picked for the Caribbean because they wanted to look at different players across three Test matches. It ought to have been remembered that these particular matches are still for World Test Championship points,” said Lloyd.

“Selection on the ground has been half-cocked too. They have gone in with a few similar seamers and a left-arm spinner, despite a leg-spinner being available. Tactically they have been naive. To be frank, we have got what we deserved.”

Lloyd opined that the ECB will have to go back to the grassroots and make a fresh start, adding that possible captaincy candidate Ben Stokes too had his issues and the administrators should ask the all-rounder if he really wants to take up the job.

“People might suggest Ben Stokes but he has had his issues and I would ask administrators to seriously consider whether they want to foist the captaincy on him as well. Test cricket in this country is in a hell of a spot. So bad that I would want a real root-and-branch look at academies and what they are teaching young players, because we are miles away from other countries and it shows in the Test Championship table.”

Lloyd asked the administrators to appoint former captain Nasser Hussain as the new managing director of England cricket as he can “crack the whip”.

“A new managing director needs to come in and sort this out. Mark Butcher would be outstanding, Rob Key is an alternative, as is Michael Vaughan, but if they want somebody to come in and crack the whip — don’t tell my boss — but it has to be Nasser Hussain!”

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