Joe Root described his side’s newly secured series victory over India, the world’s No 1 Test side, as the finest of his captaincy to date and believes his vision for England is starting to take shape as his authority grows over time.
The path to an unassailable 3-1 lead, secured by the 60-run victory in Southampton, has been curious to say the least, coming in spite of continuing issues within an unstable batting order but thanks to an impressive showing from the all-rounders and bowlers.
Root said: “I think it probably has been [my best as captain]. I feel like I’ve had quite a big input, felt very much in control of things – and I’ve got a real clear vision of how I see us improving long-term as a group. It’s a really exciting time for me and for this team.
“We’ve got some guys who are very willing to buy into that, and are very realistic and understanding of where we currently are and where we could really get to. I hope it’s a big step in the right direction for us, and we can go from strength to strength.”
Root’s decision to drop himself down a spot to his preferred No 4 in England’s second innings has been taken a sign of a leader growing in confidence, even if he declined to state where he will bat come Friday’s fifth Test at the Oval. Moeen Ali, named the player of the match for his nine wickets, would surely welcome another chance at No 3.
The England captain also believes he is now striking the right balance with his experienced new ball pairing of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, not least when it comes to field settings and dictating the lengths the pair bowl.
He added: “They are two very experienced bowlers. There are times when you want to allow them to do [it their way], and times when they’ve done that for long enough and it’s your turn to have a say. At times the frustration is part and parcel of the job – where they are is because they’re so strong in what they want.”