Root: We let down coach Chris Silverwood

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  • Chris Silverwood
    English Test and county cricketer (born 1975)
  • Joe Root
    Joe Root
    English cricketer (born 1990)

Captain Joe Root has offered his renewed support to Chris Silverwood, after the England head coach rejoined the squad ahead of the final Ashes Test.

Silverwood missed his side's hard-earned draw in Sydney last week, watching the drama from isolation in Melbourne as he recovered from coronavirus.

Having presided over three convincing defeats and been absent from the morale-boosting rescue job, nobody will be keener than Silverwood to end the series on a high in Friday's day/night Test in Hobart.

After more than two years in the top job, the Test side have gone into decline on his watch and the 46-year-old will need to persuade his bosses at the England and Wales Cricket Board that he can also be the man to reverse the slide.

With no indication that Root's tenure is coming to an end - a reflection of the lack of compelling alternatives as much as his own record - the skipper's backing is crucial.

And while convention dictates a united front in public, Root appeared genuine when asked if he would like Silverwood to remain in post.

"Yes, I would," he said. "I think the performances we put in during the first three games, I feel we've let him and the coaches down to a degree.

"I think he's very calm, he has the respect of the guys in the group and he's got a desperation to see everyone do well.

"It was a difficult week for the group of players with him not being around and it must have been very difficult for him."

Root also suggested the logistical challenges of fulfilling England's exhaustive schedule during the pandemic era has worked against Silverwood.

No other international side have played as often in the past couple of years and Root believes the additional stresses and strains of the time have contributed to holding the team back.

"I think he's had a very difficult time of it with the environments we've been living in," Root said.

"We're trying to manage winning games of cricket with bubble environments away from home.

"For a long time we've not been able to put our best teams out because we've been constantly trying to make sure from a mental well-being point of view everyone is looked after properly. That's down to the schedule we've dealt with over two years."

England will make one enforced change to the side that took the whitewash off the table at the SCG, with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler already back home after sustaining a fractured index finger.

Root stopped short of confirming Kent's Sam Billings would step in to make his debut, but the fact that Yorkshire's Harry Brook has been called up to cover for him in the Twenty20 squad to face the West Indies points firmly in that direction.

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