Jonny Bairstow says “any side in the world would miss Joe Root” after England’s 66-run defeat by India in the first one-day-international in Pune.
Root has been rested for the three-game series, having captained the side in the Test tours of Sri Lanka and India.
Needing 318 to win, opener Bairstow scored 94 from 66 balls but the tourists slipped from 169-2 to 251 all out in 20 overs.
“If Joe isn’t around we need to be good enough to adapt, he said.
“We are good enough as a team, as a batting unit, to get over the line. We didn’t and that will have hurt the guys.”
While Root has lost his place in the Twenty20 squad – missing the 3-2 series loss to India earlier this month – he averages 50.10 from 140 ODI innings.
England have rested and rotated a number of players over the winter tours and – in a year that will include 16 or 17 Tests and a T20 World Cup – Bairstow says it is “important” for that continue.
“It’s not as easy as just turning up and playing cricket,” he said.
“You’ve got a lot of different aspects to take into account; living on a certain floor of the hotel all the time, not being able to leave the hotel to go for a walk or have your own spaces, to nip to the coffee shop or go for that hour of exercise you get in England.
“Coupled with being away from families, it’s tough. That break that people have been getting at certain points in the winter has been important for people’s mental and physical health because we all know the amount of cricket that is coming up.”
England slumped to 251 all out on Tuesday having been on course for victory, but captain Eoin Morgan said his side would “continue to play” an aggressive brand of cricket in sub-continent conditions.
Bairstow – who was part of the 2019 World Cup-winning team – agrees with Morgan.
“It’s definitely the right approach, without a doubt,” he said.
“There’s got to be a bit where you are able to adapt as well, we’re good enough players and have played enough cricket to adapt in all situations.
“But the brand which we’re playing is forcing other people to change the way they’re playing their cricket too.”
The second match of the series will take place on the same ground on Friday.