Root: Now’s the time to do it right


Published: Friday 7th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Joe Root accepts it is now or never for England as they strive for a World Cup-winning formula.

Alastair Cook’s squad are expected to arrive in Australia and New Zealand firmly among the underdogs in February having won just a single one-day series in their last six attempts.

The summer of 2014 saw 50-over setbacks at the hands of both India and Sri Lanka and England begin their World Cup preparation with a seven-match series against the latter starting on November 26.

The Sri Lankan conditions may not represent ideal preparation for England’s tournament opener against Australia at the imposing MCG but, for Yorkshire batsman Root, the sub-continental trip is crucial.

The likes of Alex Hales, James Taylor, Harry Gurney and Chris Jordan are still in the early stages of their ODI careers, meaning time is short to find the right blend.

“There’s not an expectation for us to do well, which could work out for us,” said Root.

“We know we’ve not been good enough for the last six months and this period now is about getting it right and making sure we’re in the best shape possible by February 14th.

“The great thing about it is people have opportunities now to stand up and doing something special for England.

“Whether it’s young guys trying to make a mark or senior guys putting in performances we haven’t really done over the last six months, now is the time we’ve got to do it.

“We’ve got to stand up, front up and put those performances in.

“Everyone is determined to do that.”

England’s chosen XI in that Melbourne opener looks certain to be among the less experienced in the competition, even if Stuart Broad and James Anderson return to fitness to lead the attack.

But where some might identify weakness, Root’s unshakeable Sheffield steeliness sees a possible advantage.

“We know we have the squad of players to do really good things and a lot of young exciting players. Not a lot of people have seen what they can do yet,” he said.

“That could play into our hands because you can’t do as much homework on them and you don’t know their games as well as the other guys.

“We’re very capable and if we can get ourselves some consistency, a regular side and everyone fitting into their role, we’ll be a really tough side to break down.”

Despite being just 23, Root himself does not qualify as one of the junior members of the touring party.

He is a three-format international, with 36 ODI caps to his name and is widely expected to be a future England captain.

Whether or not a vacancy comes up in one-day cricket in the coming months could depend on the side’s fortunes Down Under as much as Cook’s appetite to continue.

Root is too well rehearsed and pragmatic to pitch for a job that is not yet available, but readily admits to finding an authoritative voice on the field.

“When you feel like you have something to contribute to the side you say it. If no one agrees with it then at least you have put it out there,” he explained.

“I think I do that more now, I think you have to give guys an insight that haven’t played as much as you.

“I’ve tried to do that (think like a captain) from a young age, tried to read the game which keeps you involved for one.

“But more than anything you can offer the captain anything if he comes up to you.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a senior player, but maybe slightly more so than before.”

:: Investec, the specialist bank and asset manager, is the title sponsor of Test match cricket in England. Visit or follow us @InvestecCricket

Published: Friday 7th November 2014 by The News Editor

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