England in India: Joe Root says his team would be ‘stupid’ not to learn from defeat

- in World News

Joe Root
Joe Root (left) has lost his past three Test matches as England captain

Captain Joe Root says England would be “stupid” not to learn lessons from their 3-1 Test series defeat in India.

England’s batsmen floundered on turning pitches against India’s spinners, but are not due to play their next Test in Asia until the end of 2022.

“The guys have to embrace what has happened, understand it and be realistic,” said Root.

“We would be stupid to come away from this trip and say ‘it was India, it was extreme conditions, it is impossible to bat’. That is the wrong attitude.

“The most important thing is to know there are things we can get better at. Yes, they have world-class spinners, but we can be better.”

England won 2-0 in Sri Lanka before defeating India in the first Test of the series, one of only two losses the hosts have suffered at home in 38 matches going back to 2013.

However, England’s performances have declined since then, culminating in a final batting collapse on the third afternoon of the fourth Test in Ahmedabad.

Needing 160 to make India bat again, England found themselves 10-2, 20-3 and 30-4 before being bowled out for 135.

With Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin taking five wickets each, England lost all 10 wickets to spin for the third time in the series.

“It was disappointing,” said Root. “It was a frustrating way to finish. India showed us how to bat on that wicket.”

England have rested and rotated their players across the winter in a bid to manage their physical and mental well-being.

Root’s side will play a total of 16 or 17 Tests in the calendar year, while Eoin Morgan’s white-ball team will bid to win the T20 World Cup in October.

All of Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Mark Wood, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes have been rested at times during the Tests in Sri Lanka and India.

In Bairstow’s case, he regained his place in the Test side in Sri Lanka, then missed the first two Tests in India, only to then register three ducks in four innings on his return.

Moeen was recalled for the second Test in India, just before he was scheduled to miss the last two as part of a planned rest, taking the place of Dom Bess.

When Moeen opted against England’s request for him to stay on, England went back to Bess for the final Test, with the off-spinner visibly low on confidence.

“The rotation policy is there to look after the players,” said Root. “It was all done with the best interests of the England team, the three formats across the whole year.

“There might have been areas where we could have done things slightly differently. Looking back, that’s very easy to say.

“It’s not the ideal scenario. As a captain, you always want all of your players available for selection.

“But we have to get away from playing guys until they fall over. We might not get it right all of the time, but it is going to be really important that we look after everyone.”

England’s next overseas tour is a bid to regain the Ashes in Australia and Root was asked if the rotation policy will still be in place down under next winter.

“If we are in a bubble environment, there will be an element of this that will carry over,” he said.

“It would be silly for us to look at this and not make it better for the next tour. It does deserve a lot of time, attention and thought before any decisions are made on it.”

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