Nasser Hussain explains what Joe Root’s "main challenge" will be at The Ashes

England captain Joe Root has undoubtedly been carrying his side's batting this year, scoring a whopping 1,277 runs at an average of 67.21 in Test cricket.

To put Root's exploits in perspective, England's second-highest run scorer has only made 363 runs.

As England struggle to figure out who should be in their top three, having recently dropped Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley in favour of Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan, Root has been relied on to score the majority of his team's runs.

Despite the pressure currently resting on Root's shoulders as both England's captain and only dependable batter, Nasser Hussain believes that "weight of expectation" will not be Root's "main challenge" during this winter's Ashes.

Speaking to Fox Sports, Hussain said: "Joe's problem is not going to be the weight of expectation and what’s going on, I think Hazlewood and Cummins in particular have bowled very well at him either in Australia or here at the last Ashes series.

"They seem to somehow, maybe they’re a little bit quicker and they nip it, they seem to get him trapped on the crease and get him out lbw and bowled, especially over here with the Dukes ball. That will be the main challenge."

When quizzed on the state of England's batting line-up bar Root, Hussain added that "we are no nearer at all to working out a decent top three" and also bemoaned the current schedule which has marginalised the County Championship.

"The problem for them is these two openers [Sibley and Burns] are the ones that have been getting runs in domestic cricket", Hussain said.

"Sibley and Burns are the prolific run-getters in domestic cricket over the last three or four years, so there is no easy solution.

"They’ve tried left-field ones like Jason Roy as you saw in the Ashes and the likes of Cummins and Hazlewood just blew him away and he kept nicking off.

"There are no easy solutions, Dawid Malan may be an option at three, maybe move Hameed up to open.

"Joe Root doesn’t want to move up to three and you can argue he looks a natural number three, but if he’s been so prolific at number four why would you move him if that’s where he wants to bat?

"So we are no nearer at all to working out a decent top three in England.

"We haven’t had first-class cricket for ages so even when you drop people like Crawley, you can’t suddenly go off and play first-class cricket and it’s more complicated by Covid, you have to have more people in the bubble so they’re not playing, they’re just carrying the drinks.

"It’s absolutely crazy."

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