Former coach Moores backs Root to flourish as England rejig batting order

Root is hoping to lead England to victory over their Ashes rivals


Give Joe Root the keys to the castle and let him bat where he wants in the upcoming Ashes.

That’s the view of former England coach Peter Moores, under whose guidance Root averaged 95 in Test cricket.

Moores believes shifting the England skipper from his favoured number four spot to number three is only the right move if press reports that Root has offered to bat at first drop are correct.

“I think the interesting thing is there are reports that Joe’s asked to bat at three,” said the Nottinghamshire coach, speaking at the Wicketz Festival run by charity Lord’s Taverners.

“If he wants it, I think someone of Joe’s quality will make it work. If you’re manoeuvred somewhere, it’s tougher for a player.

“I’m quite relaxed about it.

“Joe’s proven he’s such a good number four – he’s got such a good record there.

“Playing the newer ball is slightly different, especially in England, the Dukes ball will move around and you don’t want to lose your best batters early.

“The ability to see off the new ball has become all the more important because there is such strength to England’s middle-order.

“With the likes of Stokes and Ali down there, if the ball stops moving they can cash in.

“It’ll be a tough decision for Trevor and the coaching team but whatever position he does end up in, he’ll do a fantastic job.”

One of Moores’ first moves in his second spell with England was to recall Root and the Yorkshireman credited his coach for simplifying his game in 2014.

England’s top-three fragility is a major concern heading into the Ashes series, that gets underway at Edgbaston on Thursday.

It appears Kent’s Joe Denly, who failed to convince against Ireland, will drop down to bat at number four and Surrey duo Rory Burns and Jason Roy will continue to open the batting.

There is instability at the top of the order in the Australian camp too, with Cameron Bancroft set to return to the side after a long hiatus and injury doubts lingering over Usman Khawaja.

Moores believes getting off to a good start, both in the series as a whole and setting the tone for big scores with the bat, will be crucial as the old rivals go head-to-head.

“It’ll be tough. Both batting line-ups aren’t settled,” he said.

“The first team that gets a score on the board and feels like they have three or four batters in some sort of shape are going to feel great about themselves.

“The key is starting well.

“The pressure of an Ashes series builds up on people, whether you’re a batsman or a bowler.

“Starting well is key and every player will be trying to get themselves out of the blocks quickly, contributing to their team to try and get a positive result.”

Wicketz is a community cricket programme delivered by the Lord’s Taverners, which targets young people primarily between the ages of 8-19 who are living in areas of deprivation with limited access to sporting opportunities and the benefits sport can bring. To find out more, visit www.lordstaverners.org/wicketz