YORKSHIRE batsman Joe Root has been rewarded for his succesful Test debut by being brought into England’s Twenty20 squad for two matches against India.
The England and Wales Cricket Board’s acceptance that their coaches and players need appropriate rest from a relentless international schedule resulted in changes of personnel to those already chosen to face India in the Twenty20s and one-day internationals this month and next.
Root, fresh from making 73 and 20 not out on his Test debut in Nagpur, is added to the squad in the two short-format matches.
In January, fast bowler James Anderson and No 3 batsman Jonathan Trott will no longer take part in the one-day series with all-rounder Chris Woakes and middle-order stroke-maker Jos Buttler replacing them.
Coach Andy Flower is optimistic England have adopted all the right methods on and off the pitch to take their performance to a new level in 2013.
Flower left India along with the nucleus of the team who completed a historic Test series victory under new captain Alastair Cook.
While others – a largely inexperienced squad under the direction of captain Eoin Morgan and assistant coach Richard Halsall – will stay on for the two Twenty20s in Pune and Mumbai before returning home for Christmas, Flower had time to assess England’s achievements in 2012 and how they can improve next year.
The England team director, and now specialist Test match coach, is especially encouraged by his own new brief to concentrate his efforts on international cricket’s ‘pinnacle’ format and devolve the limited-overs management to Ashley Giles.
England finished the calendar year on a high in Tests, with a draw in Nagpur which confirmed a first series success in India since 1984-85.
But their overall record stood at five victories, three draws and seven defeats from their 15 matches in a hectic year which saw them lose their world No 1 status to South Africa.
Flower believes the comeback to win in India demonstrates they have made progress and he is anticipating more in another jam-packed 12 months which will feature a Champions Trophy on home soil and back-to-back Ashes series.
“It is going to be a busy year,” he said. “We’ve got the Champions Trophy, one of our priorities – happening in England – and we’ll have a chance there. Then there’s the two Ashes series in the second half of the year.
“That’s going to be some tough, sustained cricket. But we’ve shown out here that we can play that type of cricket, and that we learn to survive in different conditions.”
As for his own status, Flower said: “I needed something to change, and we hope that this will make us a more efficient organisation. We hope that this will be a better use of our resources.”