Paul Farbrace, the England assistant coach, admits there are no guarantees that Joe Root will be a successful Test captain when he eventually inherits his country’s top cricketing job.
Root, the former Sheffield Collegiate batsman, is widely expected to take over from current skipper Alastair Cook at some point - which could come as early as the new year, on the back of England’s painful 4-0 defeat in India.
Sheffielder Root has only captained Yorkshire in three first-class games - one of which saw Middlesex chase down a remarkable 471 at Lord’s in 2014, earning him the affectionate nickname of ‘Craptain’ from his teammates - and Farbrace, who worked with him at Headingley, admitted: “I don’t think that anybody who takes over as captain of England, you can ever really know whether they’re ready to do the job or not.
“Whether he will be the right bloke to lead England, until he starts doing it, you never quite know.
“It’s like Haseeb Hameed and Keaton Jennings coming into this side in India. They’ve never played international cricket before. Until they actually play, you never know whether they’re going to be good enough.
“I think that definitely applies to the job of being captain.
“Rooty hasn’t had a great deal of experience. One game he did captain at Lord’s, Middlesex chased down 471 – so he took a fair bit of stick from the Yorkshire boys for that, I can assure you.
“But until he actually does the job, no one’s going to know. It’s a bit of crystal-ball gazing, isn’t it?”
England face South Africa and the West Indies at home next year, before travelling to Australia for the Ashes.
Farbrace says the England hierarchy expect Cook to continue as skipper, but Cook has previously expressed a desire to carry on as a player - without the captain’s responsibility - and may see the series against South Africa and West Indies as a good chance for Root to bed into the job before leading England into the heat of Ashes battle Down Under.