Joe Root’s losing-the-Ashes face

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Now is not the time to analyse. Now is the time to look at Joe Root’s losing-the-Ashes face.

Oh, England have lost the Ashes, by the way. Don’t know if you’ve heard.

Before we look at Joe Root’s losing-the-Ashes face, it’s worth pointing out that you have to be a bloody good cricketer to deploy a true losing-the-Ashes face. Plenty of Britons will be sporting just-watched-my-team-lose-the-Ashes faces today, but it’s not quite the same.

This is the face of a man who is so good at cricket that he plays for and captains the national side. However, the sad fact is that it’s not all linseed oil, glamour and bon bons. Sometimes you lose the Ashes.

Joe Root (BT Sport)

What does this face say?

Does it say: “Usually things go my way. It hadn’t really occurred to me that this might happen. I mean obviously I was aware of the possibility, but now that the moment comes I realise I hadn’t emotionally prepared for it.”

Does it say: “It’s beginning to dawn on me just how many depressing interviews I’m going to have to do. It’s not just this match, the line of questioning probably isn’t going to be too cheery in Melbourne or Sydney either.”

Or does it say: “I can’t remember where I’ve put my sunglasses.”

Being England captain: seems like fulfillment of a childhood dream, but most of the time it’s actually kind of a ball-ache.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. So farewell then
    The Magellan Ashes
    Named for someone who
    Went half way round the world
    And died horribly
    At the hands of the natives.

    We commit thy body to the ground
    Earth to earth
    Ashes to… er,

      1. Just after the final wicket fell at Perth, obviously. It couldn’t have been written before then, because up till that moment we were going to retain the Ashes. All that was needed was a decent stand, and/or a healthy shower, both well within the limits of imagination of a battle-hardened England fan.

        Australia must have been desperate to get that last wicket, and they only just managed it. Effectively they only won the series because of that one wicket.

  2. This is all well and good, but it still took Australia half a day’s cricket longer to win the Magellan Ashes than it took England to win the Ivestec Ashes 2 and a half years ago. And lest we forget, England had enough time to get royally horsed in an entire test match.

    The only conclusion is that Australia half arsed their way through this series and that when they finally get around to pulling out all the stops, England are truly f**ked.

  3. Cook used to be the captain. Then it ground him down so far he couldn’t bat anymore. So he gave up the captaincy. Unfortunately he was still ground down so far he still couldn’t bat, and they ground Root down so much he also couldn’t bat. Far better to have a specialist captain like Chris Cowdrey. Or me. I could field at 3rd man, average 1.4 with the bat, let the bowlers set their own fields and give bland interviews. Carrying me would be a small price to pay for not ruining another top batsman.

  4. That is the face of a man who has just realized that the movement rate of all ships has indeed been increased by two.

      1. Has anyone crunched the numbers on performance when Root has stubble vs when he’s clean-shaven?

        Intuitively, I feel his (and England’s) performances are better when his appearance suggests he’s the international equivalent of a schoolboy that’s making up the numbers in a village side, rather than when his appearance suggests he’s the international equivalent of a sixth-former that’s making up the numbers in a village side.

      1. Extraordinary pics – well found, Sam.

        It is a rather tired truism, the “Joe Root still looks like a kid” line, but those pictures really do tell the tale of the almost imperceptible change over the years.

        I notice the source – did someone at News International have to wire tap or in some other way bug something to get those pictures? I do hope so – we expect certain standards of journalism to be maintained.

      2. Great stuff. If you look at each of those 8 pictures individually in quick succession, it’s like one of those Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer-era stop motion animation things – especially the boy band hair.

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