England go in search today of a victory in their final match of their three Test match series against the West Indies.
After some terrible batting collapses in the first two tests, England find themselves on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline, with only pride to play for in today’s match in St Lucia.
However, with only two Test matches before the Ashes gets underway in August, it is vital that they regain some momentum, especially at the top of the order, where the void left by Alastair Cook’s retirement is looking deeper than ever.
Speaking in his column in the Daily Mail, former captain and Sky Sports pundit Nasser Hussain reiterated the importance of the game for captain Joe Root.
“This is a hugely important game for Joe Root, who has been out-captained and out-played by Jason Holder.
"You can have a bad game as captain and he's had a couple of bad games. He needs to get the authority back he seemed to have against Sri Lanka and at times against India.
"The thing I would like to see him do in the field, as I noted last summer, is be a bit firmer with senior bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
"Occasionally against India, Broad was trying to sort his own field out, then he'd turn to Anderson to ask his opinion, when Root was trying to do what he wanted to do."
Root himself has underperformed in the series, with only 40 runs to his name, and Hussain believes the lack of preparation for the tour is to blame.
“He needs to reassert himself and the confidence of a score will help him. His desire to turn around his personal form of 40 runs in four innings was highlighted by the fact that he arranged a one-to-one session with batting coach Mark Ramprakash earlier this week on a team day off."
"As a batsman I have a lot of sympathy with him as three out of the four dismissals have been to absolute beauties.
"England's preparation for this series was poor, and through no fault of Root's he finds himself out of the rhythm of batting.”
For the likes of Joe Denly, Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings, today’s game is hugely important in terms of securing a spot in the team to play Australia in the summer.
Hussain believes this is the perfect opportunity to make their cases for selection.
“Denly and Burns don't want low scores here. Get a big hundred and make yourself undroppable. The series might be lost but there are great opportunities for people to make statements.”
England were boosted this week by the news that West Indies captain Jason Holder will miss the game after being banned for a slow over rate.
After a desperately disappointing first two matches, England will be looking to finish the series on a high in what is a huge year coming up for English cricket.News Now - Sport News