Captaincy burden may be robbing England of Joe Root’s greatest asset | Vic Marks

England need only to look to the example of Steve Smith to see how relinquishing the captaincy can restore batting form

The serious postmortems are on hold since there is barely time to breathe between Test matches. The outsiders have not been playing any red?ball cricket recently; even so it was a mild surprise that the selectors plucked out the same 13 names for the Test at the Oval, though it is unlikely that the same 11 will take to the field, especially if Ben Stokes is still suffering from a sore shoulder.

There will be talk of a headlong pursuit of World Test Championship points. But even without this fresh incentive there will be much to engage us. An Ashes Test somehow has a life of its own. Thursday’s match at the Oval may lack the gripping intensity of those in the 2005 or 2009 series but it will consume us all even though the players of both sides may be nearing exhaustion.

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