Joe Root knows what it is like to make a Test debut in India – so will have some handy advice for Keaton Jennings when he joins up with the England squad next week.
After Haseeb Hameed’s mid-tour departure with a broken left hand, Jennings appears to be in line to become captain Alastair Cook’s 11th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss four years ago. The Durham left-hander, set to join the squad alongside fellow replacement Liam Dawson – who will fill the vacancy left by injured spinner Zafar Ansari – is the most obvious contender to open the batting in the fourth Test in Mumbai.
Root had to do the job in the second innings of England’s eight-wicket defeat in Mohali, moving back up to the top of the order for the first time since the 2013 Ashes.
The Yorkshireman is expected to return to number three, but will be an obvious source of useful information for Jennings.
Asked what wisdom he can impart to Jennings, Root said: “More than anything, you are naturally going to be quite nervous, so I’ll try not to say all that stuff about not being nervous and trying to relax.
“Just enjoy it. You’ve got an opportunity to play for England in Test cricket – try to soak up the whole occasion and make the most of it.
“Try not to get too caught up in things that could happen, and just enjoy being in that moment and putting on the cap and the shirt.
“Just be proud of that achievement, and see where it takes you.”
Root has seen and heard enough about the 24-year-old, after his prolific breakthrough summer, to be confident he can rise to the occasion.
“He’s obviously had a very good season, good couple of seasons actually across all formats,” said Root.
“I think he’s deserved his opportunity and I hope if he does play he takes his chance.”
Jennings celebrated his England call-up with an unbeaten century as Lions captain in their eight-wicket win over United Arab Emirates in Dubai.
Jennings finished with 101 not out as the Lions knocked off their hosts’ 174 all out with 16 of their 50 overs to spare.
In his first innings since the end of last summer, the left-handed Durham opener proved he would be in form if he makes his Test debut in Mumbai next week.
South Africa-born Jennings was put in charge for his Lions debut and responded with an innings which contained 13 fours from 103 balls as the Lions went 1-0 up with two to play.