England Captain Joe Root has said that leaving out young Sam Curran despite his matchwinning performance in the Edgbaston Test, was one of the most difficult decisions of his leadership tenure so far.
Leading upto the series defining Test at Trent Bridge, Root found himself in an unforeseen dilemma, with Ben Stokes being proven not guilty of charges of affray and a must in the playing eleven for his excellent all-round ability, it came down to who will have to make the way from the side played without Stokes at Lord's.
Root and the selectors decided it will be Sam Curran and not Chris Woakes, who got a hundred in the previous game, and not even Adil Rashid, who basically has had no participation in the contest.
“It’s probably one of the most difficult selections I’ve had to make as captain,” Root said at the pre-match press conference and added, “Sam misses out and Ben (Stokes) comes into the side. The difficult part is the fact that everyone is performing so well. I think some people would see that as the easy option, to leave Sam out. But he’s offered so much to this bowling group – and at the start of the series I said to the team for us to win a five-match series against the best side in the world, it’s going to take more than just 11 players.”
Root also believes that it's a tough decision but largely in favour of the team.
He said, “That was a decision made above our heads. From that point on it was about is he good enough to play for England. He(Stokes) has been a fine performer for us for a long period of time." and added, “You don’t want to leave someone like Ben out. He offers so much to this group on and off the field. He is a big part of our team.”
“I sat him down yesterday, just me and him, and asked him where he was at. He told me he’s desperate to get out there, wants to put in performances and concentrate on his cricket now. We’ve got a huge opportunity in front of us, but ultimately – as we have so far – we’ve got to start well first morning, and then try to carry that forward,”
On the batting front, Root is satisfied with the scores that the home team has been able to post but wants his batters, including himself, to ensure more complete performances.
He said, “The surfaces we have played on have made it very difficult. We batted first at Edgbaston on a surface that did a little bit in the morning and we approached that really well and got to a decent score at lunch and fell away later down the line. At Lord’s again a very challenging surface to bat on as you could see from the first innings. I think the runs the guys got in context of everything else that happened on that first day’s play was all quite relevant.”
“I’m not concerned about it at all. We have some very talented players in our top order, some exciting young players and some good experience as well so I think a big strength of ours is we bat low down.” and concluded.
(Inputs from PTI)