'Bruised' Root to captain England in West Indies despite Ashes flop
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Joe Root was confirmed as England's Test captain for next month's tour of the West Indies on Friday despite the team's embarrassing flop in Australia as assistant coach Graham Thorpe became the latest Ashes casualty.
England's interim managing director Andrew Strauss said Root would remain in charge for the red-ball tour of the Caribbean, with the first Test starting on March 8.
"Having spoken to him it is absolutely clear the extent of his commitment to moving this England Test team forward," said the former England skipper. "He's got incredible motivation and energy to do that.
"He's bruised, hugely disappointed by what went on in the Ashes and I think it goes without saying there are many others in the same boat on that one, but he has the respect of the players, they all play for him and obviously he sets a magnificent example both on and off the field."
Thorpe became the latest senior member of team management to lose his job following the 4-0 Ashes defeat after the departures of managing director Ashley Giles and head coach Chris Silverwood this week.
A brief statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed Thorpe's exit.
His former Surrey and England colleague Alec Stewart, now the county's director of cricket, has been linked with the position of head coach on an interim basis but Strauss said the ECB had still to conduct "soundings" and there was no preferred candidate for the post.
Strauss said he had no intention of returning to a full-time administrative role in the England set-up, having stepped down as director of England cricket in 2018 to care for his late wife, Ruth, as she underwent cancer treatment.
"This is short-term because it is short-term," he said.
"My role is to help prepare the team for the West Indies series, to potentially recommend some structural changes to the England cricket department and then to help Tom (ECB chief executive Tom Harrison) with the recruitment of the roles, including I suppose the new managing director of England cricket.
"However long that takes, I'm willing to play that role.
"Generally everyone knows my own personal situation and that has prevented me up until now taking a high-profile role. Nothing has really changed. My boys are still growing up and they need their dad around."
Strauss, England's captain when they last won an Ashes series in Australia in 2010/2011, said he would recommend the return of an independent selector after the post was abolished when Ed Smith lost his job last April.
The former opening batsman said putting head coach Silverwood in charge of selection had created an "impossible strain" and that it would help to have an outside view that can "challenge the thoughts within the dressing room".
Australia coach Justin Langer, whose own position remains uncertain despite recent Twenty20 World Cup and Ashes triumphs has been touted as a possible replacement for Silverwood.
But Strauss, who played with Langer at English county side Middlesex, said England first had to decide whether they wanted separate red and white-ball head coaches before settling on appointments.
"I know him (Langer) well and on the surface he's done a very good job with that Australian cricket team so I wouldn't rule him out but I'm sure there are plenty of others as well," he said.