Joe Root is “coping well” with the pressure of captaining England and leading the batting line-up, says head coach Chris Silverwood.
Root made 64 and a superb 109 in the drawn opening Test against India at Trent Bridge, while no other England player managed more than 32.
Root has 1,064 Test runs this year, with Dan Lawrence the next best on 354.
“We need to make sure that the guys batting around him are coming to the party as well,” said Silverwood.
“They need to take the pressure off him.
“It’s my job to help him behind the scenes, take the pressure off and allow him to concentrate on his cricket on the pitch.”
Four days before the game Ben Stokes, England’s key all-rounder and Root’s vice-captain, withdrew from the series for mental health reasons. During the match England also confirmed pace bowler Jofra Archer will not play again this year because of an elbow injury.
Root’s fluent century helped England recover from 46-2 in the second innings – trailing by 49 – to post 303 and set India 209 to win.
The tourists reached 52-1 but rain prevented any play on the final day on Sunday.
“The fact is there’s a lot going on,” said Silverwood. “To do what Joe did in that Test match was phenomenal.
“It was one of the finest hundreds he’s scored, to give us a fighting chance. It shows that he’s coping well.”
England openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley average 31.40 and 21.56 respectively this year and number three Zak Crawley 11.14. The have managed one century between them in 42 innings.
“We have to address the fact and accept we’re not getting those runs,” said Silverwood.
“Questions have been posed to them – and the question has been posed to the batting coaches.
“We need to do something. Ultimately, if it isn’t working I have to take a view as to why it isn’t working and how do I change that.”
Haseeb Hameed, who played three Tests in 2016, could be recalled for the second Test, which starts on Thursday at Lord’s.
The 24-year-old made 112 for a County Select XI in India’s only tour game before the opening Test, and averages 45.85 for Nottinghamshire in the County Championship this summer.
“He is making a very strong case,” said Silverwood. “He’s done everything he possibly can to be ready.
“What he did early season in the Championship shows there’s a lot of class there.
“He put his best foot forward in Durham when he scored that hundred – it shows he can cope against this [India] attack.
“At some point we will have to make a decision and give him an opportunity. I’m confident that he’s as ready as he could be.”
In Stokes’ absence, England selected an all-seam attack at Trent Bridge, the third successive home Test this summer in which they have not picked a specialist spinner.
“You take a Ben Stokes out of that squad and it makes it hard to balance. It poses problems for us,” said Silverwood.
Although all-rounder Moeen Ali was left out of the initial squad for the first two Tests, Silverwood said he is “certainly in consideration” for a recall at Lord’s.
Moeen has played only one Test since 2019 – against India in Chennai in February – but has scored 130 runs in five innings and taken three wickets for Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural edition of The Hundred.
“We know he is a fine cricketer,” said Silverwood. “He’s showing fine form in The Hundred. I appreciate it’s a different format, but he’s showing us what he can do.
“We have to keep those options open.”