Joe Root, the England Test captain, is determined to be "at the front" and lead the charge during the next Ashes series in 2021-22.
Root has captained England in two Ashes series so far: the 4-0 drubbing they received in 2017-18 Down Under and the 2-2 draw this year. The 28-year-old believes that England now have time to prepare for the next one and reclaim the urn.
"We have got two-and-a-half years to prepare very well for it. I think it has to be a real focus for English cricket to do everything we can to be in the best possible space for that," he said after their win at The Oval on Sunday, 15 September. "I want to be at the front of that, I want to be leading it and hopefully be the man to bring the Ashes back to England."
England won the fifth Test by 135 runs, largely due to a brilliant bowling effort by the fast bowlers. They were able to draw the series, but failed to retain the Ashes. Nevertheless, the England captain is pleased with the way the summer has gone.
"It has been a wonderful summer of cricket. The World Cup win was phenomenal and guys have given absolutely everything in this Ashes series. Collectively we have shown a lot of character throughout the whole series. We have not always played our absolute best but we have fought really hard."
The end of series also marks the end of head coach Trevor Bayliss' four years in charge. Root was lavish in his praise for Bayliss and admitted that his presence was key in the development of players such as Ben Stokes. England captured the top spot in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings under Bayliss and also won their maiden ICC Men's Cricket World Cup title this year.
Collectively we have shown a lot of character throughout the whole series. We have not always played our absolute best but we have fought really hard.
"Trev is brilliant," said Root. "He has added a huge amount to this Test team. He has been involved in some fantastic series wins home and away and what he has done for white-ball cricket is phenomenal.
"He is much valued in the dressing room, has a great sense of humour. We all played for him this week and are really pleased to send him off in a great fashion. He has allowed guys like Ben to play their way, to not be afraid to express themselves. Look at Ben's development over that period. He is now one of the world's best all-rounders."
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