Root to give Jennings space before talking |

Root to give Jennings space before talking

12 August 2017

Keaton Jennings had a tough series against South Africa // Getty

England skipper says dropped opener simply needs to respond with runs at county level

Joe Root admits he has yet to tackle the hardest part of his fledgling captaincy - calling Keaton Jennings after he was dropped from the squad.

The Durham opener started the summer with high hopes of cementing his place as Alastair Cook's long-term partner but was ruthlessly exposed by South Africa, averaging just 15.87 in eight innings.

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England decided on Thursday to cut the cord, drafting the uncapped Mark Stoneman for next week's day-night Test against the West Indies and leaving Jennings battling to win a place on the Ashes tour.

For Root, who has had the pleasure of handing out three debuts as well as maiden call-ups for Stoneman and Mason Crane, it is a first taste of one of captaincy's trickier tasks.

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"I've not spoken to anyone yet. It's only 24 hours after he's had some difficult news," Root said when asked if he had spoken with Jennings.

"It's important they get their own space, deal with it and how they want to deal with it and I'll maybe be in contact in the next few days.

"(What gets said) is between me and him, to be honest, but it's pretty obvious he wants to go back into county cricket and score a huge amount of runs and put pressure back on that way.

"It's important he continues to be the impressive professional he has been in an England squad."

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Stoneman's call-up means Cook will have a 12th top-order partner since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012.

Root can count himself among that number, before establishing himself in the middle order, but cannot explain why the issue persists.

"It's a strange one - you look at the talent and the guys who have played and you think they have every chance of being able to do it, but unfortunately it's not been the case," he said.

"A lot of great openers' strengths is when they do get in they make big, big scores. Unfortunately on a few occasions guys haven't quite managed to do that.

"There's another opportunity for Mark to come in now and do just that. Hopefully, he does that."