Ashes: England captain Joe Root should bat at No. 3 - Graham Gooch
England need Joe Root to bat at three going forward if they are to put their Ashes loss behind them, according to Graham Gooch.cricket Updated: Dec 19, 2017 22:36 IST
Joe Root is the only England batsman capable of batting at number three, according to former skipper Graham Gooch.
England have succumbed to an Ashes series defeat after three Tests in Australia, with Root among a clutch of senior players failing to fire.
The captain has scored 176 runs at number four, at an average of 29.33, while Alastair Cook’s failures at the top of the order and Stuart Broad’s struggles with the ball have also been a cause for concern.
Root scored two hundreds and averaged 51.15 against Pakistan, Bangladesh and India after being moved to three in July 2016, but has moved back down the order to his preferred position since taking control of the team, with Gary Balance and Tom Westley unable to step in during the English summer and James Vince struggling for consistency in Australia.
With the Ashes already lost pressure has come on England to reassess their line-up, and Gooch believes the first step should be to promote the captain.
“I read what Joe said about batting at four, he’s coming in at what he believes is his best place,” Gooch told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of Greene King IPA.
“Personally, I would like to see Joe Root bat at three.
“The reason I would have him at three in this side is because he’s the one player who can handle three, has the all-round game to dig and attack if necessary, keep the score moving, be resilient under pressure, he has the game and the class to handle that position.
“Needs must and I think, at the moment, we need him at three.”
Ben Stokes’ has also hit England hard, according to Gooch. The all-rounder has played no part in the series as investigations over a late-night incident in Bristol in September continue.
Gooch believes Stokes will return to the England fold once the issue is resolved and also tipped a change in role for the Durham man.
“The Ben Stokes situation is very distressing, he will come back into the side I’m sure,” Gooch added.
“When he does come back I personally would like to see him bat at five, Jonny Bairstow at six, Moeen Ali at seven, that would be my order there.
“Dawid Malan has [also] boosted his claims for a place.”