LONDON: Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer promise a glittering Test future for England but Joe Root’s men have work to do if they are to replicate their World Cup success in the five-day game.
England’s focus on white-ball cricket paid off handsomely when they became world champions for the first time in July, beating New Zealand in a dramatic final.
Their summer threatened to finish with a whimper going into the final Ashes Test at the Oval before a comprehensive victory over Australia levelled the Ashes series at 2-2.
Captain Root said after the win on Sunday that he was “desperate” to take the team forward, and is already looking ahead to the 2021-22 Ashes in Australia.
“What a summer of cricket it’s been,” he said. “I think a huge success for English cricket and I think we’ve got a great opportunity now to spring the game forward in this country.”
The Yorkshireman described the Oval victory as a blueprint for the future, saying England had the foundations in place for long-term success.
“That’s got to be our main focus, going down there (Australia) and winning and every Test match between that is an opportunity to push your case,” he said.
All-rounder Stokes, who produced heroics at the World Cup and then lit up the Ashes with a mesmerising 135 not out in England’s one wicket win in Leeds, would walk into any team in international cricket.
Archer is at the start of his Test career but has already shown he can be a phenomenal weapon for England, taking 22 wickets in his first four matches at an average of just over 20.
Sending down 95-per-hour thunderbolts, he gives the attack a new dimension, unsettling even frontline batsmen with his sheer pace.
“He has a way of having a huge impact on the game,” Root said of Archer. “You saw his spell here, the way it just changed the whole atmosphere of the ground was incredible.
“For someone right at the beginning of his career to have such a gift is entertaining, it’s great to be able to captain that.”
Despite Root’s optimism, there are questions over a number of other positions in the side in both the batting and bowling departments, with the skipper admitting there were “conversations” to have.