Shane Warne has welcomed the appointment of Joe Root as the England Test captain, saying the batsman would have “more flair” than his predecessor, Alastair Cook.
Warne, commonly considered the greatest legspinner the game has ever seen, had been one of Cook’s harshest critics during his England record 59-Test captaincy reign. But while he has softened his tone towards the left-hand opener, Warne maintained that England were likely to play more exciting cricket under Root.
“I think he has a bit more flair than Alastair Cook,” Warne told AAP on Tuesday (May 16).
But while he conceded that Cook “had a lot of strengths”, Warne held that Root “will be a lot different tactically”.
Root’s first match as Test captain will be against South Africa from July 6 at Lord’s, the start of a four-Test series.
Cook resigned from the leadership role following England’s 4-0 rout in India in late 2016, a series that Warne pointed at to reiterate Cook’s defensive mindset. “Even recently in India, England had a great chance to win that first Test but batted too long,” he said. “That’s been a bit of a sign with England, where they’ve just batted a bit too long (so) they can’t lose the game.
“I hope Root will be a little bit more ‘we’re going to try and win this’. I hope Joe Root will be a little bit more aggressive and try and win games, rather than make sure they don’t lose them.”
Tempering his criticism of Cook, Warne acknowledged that he had gotten better with time. “I think Alastair Cook got better – no one is their best version of themselves as captain when they start,” he said. “I was very critical of Alastair Cook at the start because he wasn’t making a run either, and I didn’t think he captained the side that well. But that was three or four years ago.”
Warne felt that captaincy would bring out the best in Root, and that in turn his naturally attacking instincts while batting would rub off on his leadership too.
“I think it will bring the best out in him, he will enjoy it. I’m excited to see the way he (does it),” said Warne. “I hope (it’s) like the way he bats. He’s aggressive, and takes the game on – he likes to be positive all of the time – so I hope that rubs off in his captaincy.”