England’s Joe Root vows to play his part for Gary Ballance’s Yorkshire

Joe Root
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INCOMING England captain Joe Root says there is little chance he will seek practice for the role by asking to lead Yorkshire at any time this season.

The Sheffield-born batsman was put in charge of the national team earlier this week despite his relative leadership inexperience at first-class level.

Admittedly, Root has been vice-captain of England since 2015 and is seen as someone with all the attributes to successfully succeed Alastair Cook.

However, his only previous involvement as a captain is four games for his county back in 2014.

With England’s first Test of the summer not until July 6, when they face South Africa at Lord’s, there may be scope for him potentially to take charge of Yorkshire again in the County Championship.

The campaign starts in April and, although it remains to be seen which games Root will be released for given his central contract, it is expected he will represent the White Rose at some point before that Test starts.

However, asked if he would see whether he could take over for a stint, the 26-year-old said: “I don’t think so. The team is in very good hands with Gary (Ballance) now.

“It will be nice to come back and play under him.”

England colleague Ballance, of course, has replaced Andrew Gale for 2017 at Headingley with the previous captain taking over from Jason Gillespie as first-team head coach.

Root is looking forward to his first real shot at captaincy and says his experience as Cook’s deputy has been useful.

“I think it has as you get an insight into how to manage your bowlers and team,” he added.

“You obviously start thinking about the game in a slightly different way knowing that Cooky might have to go off at any point and you’re in control.”

“You do start thinking about things slightly different, but I think that’s always been beneficial for me when those small pockets of time have come along.”

With captaincy, though, comes the need for authority and, sometimes, the need to lay down the law, something from which the normally affable Root will not shy away.

“I think that’s part of the role and I’m sure there will be the odd occasion when that might have to happen,” he said, when asked about his ability to give some ‘hairdrier’ treatment.

“It’s not something that I’m worried about. I want to be instinctive and natural and if that happens, it happens.”

Included in that handful of games in which he took the reins for Yorkshire is the game at Lord’s when Middlesex famously chased down more than 400 to win.

Root later revealed, much to his own amusement, that it earned him the nickname of “c*aptain” from his mocking Tykes colleagues.

He did, though, have the honour of being captain later that summer when, with Gale suspended, Yorkshire won the County Championship title at Trent Bridge.

Meanwhile, Adam Lyth, his county team-mate who also won the Ashes alongside him, believes the new man will flourish 
under the added pressure of captaincy.

“Root was the obvious choice when Cook stepped aside,” said the left-handed opener, who is keen to win back an England spot after making the last of his seven Test appearances versus Australia in 2015.

“I think he’ll do extremely well as England captain.

“He’ll thrive on the pressure of the situation.

“You always see it with Root; the bigger the occasion, the better he plays. I have known Joe a long time, and I always thought he would become a skipper.

“I’m not surprised he’s landed this role and I’m over the moon for him that he’s been appointed.”

Lyth admits Root may have to alter his reputation as a team prankster, but does not feel that will be a problem.

“He’s a good lad to have in the dressing room, a fun bloke and the joker in the side,” added Lyth.

“Perhaps he’ll have to change that slightly now he’s England captain, but I don’t see that being an issue at all. He’ll take all this in his stride and I’m sure come the Test series against South Africa and the West Indies, he’ll be more than ready for the challenge.

“He may not have much captaincy experience, but he’s played over 50 Test matches, so has been there and done it.”

Root expects to play in all formats for England and does not envisage too many issues with an historic back injury.

“That’s where we have to be smart, communicate well and be brutally honest,” he said. “If I need a break that shouldn’t be an issue. We’ll just have to work well together.”

Additional reporting: Daniel Gregory