England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Trent Bridge July 17, 2017

Root shocked by Vaughan condemnation of England's 'lack of respect' for Test cricket


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Root 'can't believe' Vaughan comments after a thumping Test defeat

Michael Vaughan's criticism of the England side is "unfair" according to England captain, Joe Root.

Vaughan, Root's boyhood hero, branded England's batting "appalling" on the BBC's Test Match Special and suggested it was born from "a lack of respect" for the values of Test cricket. "They look like they are playing a T20 game," he said.

England were bowled out for just 133 in the second innings at Trent Bridge, succumbing to the second biggest defeat, in terms of runs, in their history against South Africa. Across the game, they lost several wickets to oddly aggressive strokes, with Root himself guilty of a loose drive in the first innings and Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali falling in similarly aggressive fashion in the second innings.

It was England's seventh loss in their 10 most recent Tests. And it left Vaughan both unimpressed and suggesting that England were struggling to adjust having just played several months of white-ball cricket leading into the ICC Champions Trophy.

He was not alone in his condemnation. Another former England captain, Nasser Hussain, blasted England for playing a "rubbish brand of cricket" on Sky Sports, while Geoff Boycott described the performance as "absolute tripe" on the BBC.

But Root, who has seen Vaughan as a mentor, countered by saying England had simply suffered a bad game and that he "couldn't believe" Vaughan would suggest such a thing.

"That's very unfair," he said. "I can't believe he's actually said that, to be honest.

"We pride ourselves on winning series like this and unfortunately we've played poorly this week."

While Root admitted some of England's batting was "disappointing," he insisted the result was not a fair representation of the team's quality. He accepted, though, that England's batsmen were struggling to adapt between limited-overs and Test cricket and warned they would have to learn the lessons quickly if they were to win a series that is currently squared at 1-1.

"It was very disappointing the way we played today," Root said. "We're a side that doesn't like giving anything away and unfortunately today that wasn't a fair representation of how good we are as a team.

"It's important to stay calm. There's a lot of cricket left to be played in this series. It's important we don't sulk and we don't get too down on ourselves. We're a good side and we don't lose that overnight.

"We need to learn the lessons quickly from this week. We didn't assess the situation well enough in the first innings and then from that we couldn't find a way to get back into the game.

"A lot of sides do [struggle to adjust between formats] in world cricket: the amount of white-ball cricket we play and the crossover between formats.

"Part of Test cricket is trying to find a balance [between defence and attack] and, if it's not your strength, you build it into your natural game. You have periods where you can absorb a bit of pressure and find the right moment to apply it when chances come along.

"Throughout this game we have not done that very well at all. We are capable of doing it and have done it previously but this wasn't a very good example of it.

"But it's part and parcel of Test cricket. We need to be better at that. There's no shying away from it. We need to make sure we learn quickly and, if we are in a similar situation at The Oval, for example, we play it slightly smarter.

"The ways we've gone about it previously haven't worked so we have to look for something different and make sure we work very hard at that and make sure it sticks."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Indikapuncha on July 20, 2017, 8:53 GMT

    Just don't give much attention on Vaughan as He always got something to say irrespective of the situation, often so meaningless words

  • srinath on July 19, 2017, 17:07 GMT

    why do these legends always have something to say..?? haven't they ever lost something like this during their careers..? They would have felt the same sickening feeling right, when some ex-cricketer criticized them the same way these legends are stuffing up claims against the current players.

  • Jose on July 19, 2017, 16:43 GMT

    @David on July 19, 2017, 11:41 GMT

    You hit the nail on the head, when you mentioned about the "inability to scarp out the ugly runs in tough situations"

    That had been the bane for many teams in the test format, in recent times.

    The obsession with the s/r is OK for the short formats, but stretching that over test cricket compounds the problem. If it comes from the average fans who had been mesmerized by the T20 leagues, it is understandable. But when it comes from the captain and or the coach, what can I say, except feeling sad.


    Let me mention 2 class acts for test cricket

    1. Warner is a true multi format batsman. IF HE MAKES UP HIS MIND to play the test-calibre batting, that is going to be a massive advantage for your team in the Ashes.

    2. In India's case, Pujara is a class act, when it comes to test batting. Has the required patience. He is one of the few who can really scrape it out. But unfortunately he is often bagged for his s/r, even by the captain and the new coach.

  • David on July 19, 2017, 11:41 GMT

    Root will have to be more thick-skinned than this as England captain. There was nothing personal or vindictive in Vaughan's comment, and he was about right with his assessment. Aside from their Indian drubbing, England have not played badly over the last 2 years, they are playing a good side here, and they can still win the series. What I think has been collectively lacking in them is an ability to scrap out the ugly runs in tough situations. Once they're behind in a game, they seem to give up all too easily, as if saving their energies for the next game. The ability to scrap like mad in tough situations is a quality all the great sides have had, no matter how glamorous they might have seemed on the surface. If England can learn to do this, it could do them wonders.

  • Khaya on July 19, 2017, 9:58 GMT

    We have Graeme Pollock and they have Michael Vaughan, difference is Michael's comment is valid. Its true England played as if its a T20/ODI game and Root himself is the main the culprit. He played as if he wanted to break records of the fastest half century/century. England is the very strong team, if they can go back to basics of test cricket they will be invincible.

  • Shanti on July 19, 2017, 8:10 GMT

    Since wise man @Jose dug up a common law, let me dig up an equally well known another common law, which says,

    Nothing succeeds like a success.


    Nothing fails like a failure.

    So, why should anyone dig for the Roots

    Just try your best for succeeding, the next time.

    As simple as that! In my reckoning.

  • Jose on July 19, 2017, 7:49 GMT

    It looks a "law" in practice, everywhere

    When things go wrong, anywhere,

    They look for a reason everywhere,

    Except, in the mirror.

    Wouldn't even like anyone from anywhere,

    Who bring in & show them a mirror.

    Lest, they may see their own error.

    So, either they break the mirror.

    And call the messengers with a mirror, a terror.

    So, why all these expression of horror!

    Among most of the 78 here. And, everywhere.

  • Nipun Perera on July 19, 2017, 7:36 GMT

    @NEIL - I too follow England County season and I agree with you on the fact that Bell's record last couple of years was below par (The only significant score I remember was 170 odd). But James Vince then and Ballance now have have failed to capitalize on their chances. There should be an explanation why Ballance fails despite his FC record (I personally think it should not only be stats). I think their technique and temperament against world class swing bowling not up to the mark. Bell maybe a foregone conclusion, but someone like 'Bell at his best' would be the only solution. Textbook technique works more often than not whereas modern T20 like innings work once in couple of series.

  • ian on July 19, 2017, 5:44 GMT

    A quick scan through of the 76 comments posted here (there are unlikely to be too many more) and it seems to me that the majority of people side with Vaughan's criticism, as do I - although I am not often in agreement with his opinions. I would imagine that the message has got through to Joe Root, his team and Trevor Bayliss. I had looked forward to a very competitive Test series and if England walked away from Lord's thinking privately, job done; these tourists will just roll over from here on - well, they know better now! The delayed appearance of captain Faf du Plessis has transformed the team, despite the loss of Rabada for the last Test. Right now, it's difficult to see how England will draw level at the Oval & win the series. The momentum is all the other way. I will say (re-say!) this: if England can re-learn the hard disciplines of Test cricket, play the long game, not look to make pretty little contributions that are done in an hour, then they're learning! Show us pls, Joe!

  • Paul on July 19, 2017, 5:27 GMT

    @ALFRED Root was angered by the "lack of respect" comment. That the batting was poor was not disputed. Stokes averaged 45 last year, which isn't bad for a number 6. Neither of his dismissals were reckless in the manner that could be levelled at Moeen , or Bairstow in the second innings. By many, Stokes has been typecast as a white ball slogger, an angry young man, not quite good enough at either discipline. In truth, nobody has worked harder to improve all aspects of his game, other than perhaps Bairstow, whose wicket keeping is still underrated despite the obvious qualities he has.

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