Despite Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow's strong opening partnership, England lost their way during the run-chase in the first ODI against India. Following the dramatic collapse of England’s batting order, several experts and fans were of the opinion that a loss could’ve been avoided had Joe Root been available to anchor the team’s innings.
“I think any side in the world would miss Joe Root. It’s not a surprise that he [Root] averages 50 in the format [ODI],” said Jonny Bairstow when asked about the England Test skipper's absence.
“Look, I think it’s a good opportunity for people to come into the side and perform well and play a different role but when Joe’s not around we need to be good enough to be able to adapt,” Jonny Bairstow added.
While England’s Test captain has lost his place in England’s T20 setup, and missed out on the most recent series against India, he continues to be an option in the 50-over format. Having played 149 ODIs, Joe Root has scored 5962 runs at an average of 50.1. He has also scored 16 centuries.
Despite his accomplishments, Joe Root has been given a rest because of England’s busy international cricket schedule in 2021, which culminates with the prestigious Ashes Series in Australia at the end of the year. England have actively followed their strategy of resting key players over the winter and that precedent is set to continue this summer as well.
"When Joe Root's not around, we need to be good enough to adapt": Jonny Bairstow
However, Jonny Bairstow believes that Root’s absence cannot be taken as an excuse for England to underperform. The batsman firmly believes the England side is ‘good enough as a team to get over the line even without their Test captain.
“Yesterday, [the collapse in the first match] happened and we need to learn from that. When Joe’s not around, we need to be good enough to adapt and we are good enough as a team and as a batting unit to get over the line. Yesterday we didn’t and like I mentioned earlier, that would’ve hurt the guys going into practice trying to implement the skills that can help us get over the line, should that be the case in the next ODI,” Jonny Bairstow said in the virtual press conference.
England’s white-ball skipper Eoin Morgan has also stated that the absence of Joe Root leaves a ‘massive hole’ in the England side. The ODI captain also considers the series an opportunity for fringe players to come in and impress and try to stake their claims for more regular inclusion in the limited-overs teams.