Rob Key says only Joe Root knows if he can continue England captaincy after Ashes failure
"Root is going to have to really think about whether he wants to carry on," says Key; England captain's former team-mate Jonathan Trott backs him to stay in skipper role
Last Updated: 09/09/19 11:35pm
Joe Root must consider giving up the England captaincy if he thinks it is affecting his batting form, according to former Test batsman Rob Key.
Root was out for a duck for the third time in as many matches before Australia retained the Ashes by taking a 2-1 series lead with a 185-run victory in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Despite having overseen England's first failure to win a home Ashes series since 2001, Root said that he "definitely" remains the right man to lead the side forward, starting with the fifth and final Test at the Oval on Thursday.
"At some stage, Joe Root has got to work out whether the captaincy affects his game," Key told Sky Sports News. "Forget the side and everything else. 'Can I play as a batsman and a captain and be as successful, in terms of runs, as I have been in the past?'
"I think his average before he was captain was 50 and it has since dropped down to 40. That might be just because of conditions, but that is what he has to answer - and only he can answer that.
"Whenever you ask any sportsperson that question about whether they want to carry on, they are always going to say 'yes' straight away, otherwise it's like giving up - and sportspeople don't like giving up. But at some stage, Joe Root is going to have to sit and really think about whether he wants to carry on and if he can be the batsman he wants to be as a captain."
Root has averaged 30.87 runs during the series, a figure significantly below his career mark of 48.03, while the astonishing form of Australia's Steve Smith has further emphasised the England captain's struggles.
The weakness of England's top-order batting forced Root to promote himself a place from his preferred No. 4 position at the start of the series, leaving him regularly exposed to a new ball in the hands of Australia's highly impressive fast bowling lineup.
Root's former England team-mate Jonathan Trott believes that responsibility for the defeat must be shared, and that there are a lack of viable options to replace the 28-year-old.
"I would like to see him stay in the role," Trott told Sky Sports News. "I think there is no better option in the England side to be captain. I think he is a natural choice.
"I think he's looked really good at times in this series. He's got some fantastic deliveries and he'll be hurting a little bit with regards to not being able to do the job and get those Ashes back, but it is a team effort - it's not just down to the captain when he goes out there with the bat. It's up to everybody.
"I think he's the right guy for the job. If he wants to continue to do that, I'd certainly back him."