England had good representation on the ICC ODI Team of the Year, but there wasn’t a single Englishman on the Test Team of the Year for 2018. According to Test captain Joe Root, that is a good thing.
“It shows that we are not reliant on one or two players,” said Root. “We’ve played well as a group. We are not reliant on one guy scoring massive runs throughout a series to win. Everyone at some point is chipping in and performing, adding to us winning games of cricket. And the more consistent individually we can become, the more we will see this team develop.”
Root is leading the No.3 ranked side in the world, and the series against West Indies is a chance for them to climb to No.2. Series wins against India and Sri Lanka have been key to the turnaround after a deflating tour Down Under at the start of 2018, and the captain is certain the success confirmed his philosophy of team over individuals, of picking a side based on conditions.
England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes speaks to Wisden Cricket Monthly about his century on Test debut, but as editor-in-chief @Phil_Wisden points out, his mighty rise has created a few problems.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 22, 2019
Several players have made a case for selection in recent times, and it means that Root will have some tough calls to make when it comes to choosing the playing XI for the first Test against the West Indies, starting Wednesday. According to the captain, the players realise that being left out is not an immediate reflection on their ability.
“Everyone is fully aware of that and knows that as, as in Sri Lanka, it might not be the same XI throughout the tour. So you’ve got to be ready to go throughout the tour. It’s going to be a very difficult call,” he said.
“We’re coming off the back of three brilliant Test matches, we work very well as a group and we’re all in a good place coming into the game. Whoever misses out is going to be very unfortunate but I am sure they’ll be ready for the second one if they’re not required here.”
"Sri Lanka felt like a watershed moment, the beginning of a new phase in Broad’s career where his phenomenal record no longer guarantees selection."@Jo_Wisden on what the future might hold for England's Stuart Broad.https://t.co/3qj6h7g3QR
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 21, 2019
“If we’re in a position to leave someone of Stuart’s stature out it’s not because of lack of form or lack of ability,” Root said, even as he insisted that the team would be decided on the morning of the game. “Or because his career is coming to an end. Far from that, he’s actually looking like he’s improving all the time. His action is getting stronger, he’s taking hat-tricks in warm-up games and looking a very serious threat in these conditions.
“If anything, it shows we’re going to balance the team up to suit conditions. We’re not necessarily going to play our XI best players. And from that, we’ll hopefully become more consistent away from home because we’re reading conditions and surfaces.”