"Sometimes you can only be as good as the players you've actually got in the team."
Trevor Bayliss, in one of his last media engagement as England coach, has backed Joe Root to remain as Test captain even after the 56-year-old departs his role at the end of the Ashes.
Bayliss's final game in charge of England will begin on Thursday at the Oval, ending a four-year term in which he helped guide England to a maiden 50-over World Cup win this summer but was unable to imprint the same stability on the Test side. In turn, they have failed to reclaim the Ashes after Australia took a 2-1 lead in the series in Manchester and calls for Root's resignation have been loud and plentiful.
But the 28-year-old has held the role throughout Bayliss's tenure and the Australian has no doubt he will continue in the immediate future.
"He's not come under question from anyone making any decisions," Bayliss said on Tuesday (September 10). "He's under no pressure at all."
The period of captaincy has coincided with a particular lean run of form for Root. Though he maintains it is not a burden, the numbers tell a different story: he averages 40 with the armband but 52 without.
A contributing factor has been his shifting back and forth from three to four and back again for this series in which he is currently averaging 30 and has pocketed just three half-centuries. Bayliss, though, is not worried and does not think captaincy, in particular, has brought about this downturn.
"Everyone goes through periods where they don't score as many runs as they'd like. I think the Australian team have bowled pretty well to him, so we'll see how things go further down the line.
"From my point of view, he was our premier batter and the Australians always try and target the opposition captain. He's played well when he's got starts and I don't see too many problems."
The key for Root, certainly in terms of skippering, will be, Bayliss feels, "to go into the lion's den and win an Ashes series" in Australia. Within that, he feels Root has the capability but also feels he needs the players.
"Sometimes you can only be as good as the players you've actually got in the team. We're probably still looking for a number of players to make that XI as strong as it possibly can be. He's doing everything he possibly can to make that right.
"But I think he's getting better all the time. And some of the guys he's got with him are going be important: people like Ben Stokes. Those two guys going forward are in a good position. Right now I can't see too many others that would suit the job. But those two together can take this team forward."
As for Bayliss's own time with England, he rates it a five-out-of-10 - "I'm a hard marker - on account of their being room for improvement. Indeed, the limited-overs side has progressed with the tournament win this summer and an appearance in the 2016 World Twenty20 Final.
The Test side, though, has won as much as they've lost: 27 each across his 61 matches in charge. Within those have been some highlights - away series wins against South Africa and Sri Lanka - along with the lowlights of defeats to West Indies and New Zealand, along with relinquishing the Ashes in 2017-18 with a 4-0 scoreline. Nevertheless, there are no regrets held.
"I said to my wife before I came over, I'd love to win at least one of the trophies. When we won the first one, the World Cup, I felt a bit greedy. I would have loved to have gone out on a high but it's professional sport - while you go out wanting to win every game and every series, it's obviously not just possible. There are other good players and other good teams out there.
"It's the natural time to go. I've said all along, I've never spent more than four or five years somewhere, whether you're doing well or not. It's time for the lads to hear a new voice.
"I'm quite happy to be heading home now but with fond memories. I'm sad to leave in one way. There's been plenty of good people I've been able to work with - from players to coaching staff, management staff, ECB, county coaches and administration. I've been welcomed with open arms, it's been fantastic."