PERTH: England captain Joe Root defended his underperforming senior players after his team meekly handed back the Ashes to Australia in Perth on Monday.
Victory by an innings and 41 runs gave Australia an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series, but Root said the English had to be careful not to make hasty decisions based on this series.
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen said one of the opening bowlers needed to be dropped, in an apparent reference to Stuart Broad who returned career-worst figures in Perth.
Pietersen’s former English team-mate Ian Bell also suggested it was time for former skipper Alastair Cook to retire, having scored just 83 runs at 13.83 in this series so far.
However Root backed the pair, along with Moeen Ali and Jimmy Anderson, to continue to be important players for England.
“I’d like to think so,” Root said when asked if Cook, Broad and Anderson would still be in the team in 12 months.
“They’ve got huge amounts of experience and they do offer a lot to the group and their performances over a long period of time speak for themselves.
England coach Trevor Bayliss had hinted that pressure may have to got to some of the senior players in the Ashes, but Root dismissed the suggestion.
“They’ve been in situations where things haven’t gone for them before and that’s why they’ve played so many games.
“No reason they can’t do that again.
“It’s important we don’t panic and make hasty decisions after three games.”
Root leapt to the defence of his predecessor as national captain, saying he didn’t think Cook was ready to retire.
“He’s done it so many times before and he’s a very stubborn guy who likes proving people wrong,” he said.
“The amount of extra work he’s putting in behind the scenes tells me he’s desperate to keep going.”
Root conceded his own form had been down and felt he might have been putting too much pressure on himself to perform.
“Things feel like they just haven’t ran for me out in the middle,” he said.
“I feel pretty good in the way I have prepared and sometimes you just have to keep battling through those tough periods.”
He also refused to say the absence of star all-rounder Ben Stokes, unavailable for the Ashes after an alleged fight outside a Bristol pub, had played a big part in England’s demise.
“I’m not going to make excuses,” he said.
“We knew that he wasn’t going to be on the tour from the start.
“I was very confident that this group of players could come out here and win.”