England have lost their ODI series against Sri Lanka by a comfortable 5-2 scoreline, captain Alastair Cook’s position is under growing scrutiny - but at least Sheffield’s Joe Root can return home with his head held high.
The Sheffield Collegiate batsman was undoubtedly England’s star man of the series, with one brilliant hundred and a gutsy 80 in the final ODI in Columbo seeing him finish as the second highest run-scorer, on either side, in the series.
His 367-run return is enough to see him jump up to 11th spot in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen, alongside Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews.
And after a year which saw him accumulate 777 runs in the Test arena, too, Root can be rightly proud of his indivudual efforts, in a mainly disappointing year for the England team.
The Yorkshire batsman, who turns 24 at the end of this month, is a certainty to be named in England’s World Cup squad.
But it will be interesting to see in which capacity he travels to Australia, with the ongoing question marks over Cook’s future as both captain, and a ODI player altogether.
“No one has any divine right to play for England, and my performances this year in the one-day game haven’t been good enough,” Cook said.
“I haven’t scored the runs I’d like to have - and we haven’t won the number of games I’d like to have. But it’s not been for a lack of effort, or willing to try to improve.”
If he is stripped of the captaincy, then Eoin Morgan seems the obvious choice to inherit it - but Root is bound to be another name on the list of candidates.
He has been groomed for the national captaincy from an early age, and skippered the England Lions before making the transition to the senior side.
His time will surely, and rightly, come.