Joe Root backs embattled England coach Chris Silverwood to keep job

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<span>Photograph: Steve Bell/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Steve Bell/Getty Images
  • Captain urges ‘one last push’ for a win in Hobart Ashes Test

  • ‘We let him down and not played near level we’re capable of’


Joe Root has thrown his support behind Chris Silverwood, insisting the embattled head coach should keep his job as England prepare for “one last push” to end their failed Ashes campaign with a win.

After missing the drawn fourth Test in Sydney with Covid-19, Silverwood has rejoined the tour for Friday’s fifth instalment in Hobart but at 3-0 down finds his position under review for a winter that has already seen the goal of winning the T20 World Cup end with a semi-final defeat by New Zealand.

Related: Mitchell Starc ‘not looking for a break’ with selectors to make final Ashes Test call

Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, and Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men’s cricket, are both on tour and must now decide whether these two disappointments are mitigated by the strains of the pandemic. Root, who will discuss his own future as captain after a series finale in which Sam Billings appears likely to make his Test debut, appears to think they are.

Asked if he would like Silverwood to remain in place for the tour of the Caribbean in March, Root replied: “Yes I would. It was a difficult week for the group of players with him not being around and it must have been very difficult for him.

“The performances we put in during the first three games, I feel we let him and the coaches down to a degree. We’ve not played anywhere near the level we’re capable of. It’s a chance to do that this week.”

On Silverwood’s qualities, Root said: “I think he’s very calm, he has the respect of the guys and he’s got a desperation to see everyone do well or up-skill the players as best he can. I think he’s had a very difficult time of it with the environments we’ve been living in, trying to manage winning matches with bubble environments away from home, and multi-format players trying to prepare for an Ashes and a World Cup. It’s very difficult.

Related: Five questions for England to resolve for the fifth and final Ashes Test | Simon Burnton

“For a long time we’ve not been able to put our best teams out because we’ve been constantly trying to make sure from a mental wellbeing point of view everyone is looked after properly, because of the schedule we’ve dealt with over two years.”

The endorsement notably differs from Root’s opposite number, Pat Cummins, who despite Australia’s T20 World Cup and Ashes wins recently insisted head coach Justin Langer’s expiring contract would not be discussed until the end of the series. Trevor Bayliss, the former England head coach, is favourite to succeed him.

Root looked exhausted at the end of the Sydney Test but said he will strive for “one last push” in Tasmania. Before then comes a decision whether to enter next month’s Indian Premier League’s “mega-auction”, with paperwork due to be submitted by the end of the week. The 31-year-old has spurned previous editions of the competition but appears tempted.

“Time is ticking but I have a lot to weigh up,” Root said. “Will it have a negative impact on me playing Test cricket? If I don’t think so then I will put myself in the auction. But I will never do anything that will detract from playing Test cricket for England. It is so important to make sure that is the priority for me and other players as well.”

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