YORKSHIRE’S Joe Root believes James Vince is a batsman who “fits beautifully for Test cricket” and will raise his game to a new level, in the mould of Michael Vaughan.
Vince, one of two uncapped players alongside seamer Jake Ball in the 12-man squad England have named for next week’s first Investec Test, has often appeared reluctant to buy into comparisons with former Yorkshire opener Vaughan.
Root understands why the Hampshire captain will be out instead to make his own mark, and is confident he has the class to do so.
England’s linchpin No 4 agrees nonetheless that Vince’s strokeplay is reminiscent of Vaughan’s, and senses he may prove – like the 2005 Ashes-winning captain – a batsman born to Test cricket.
Duncan Fletcher elevated Vaughan in 1999, and current England coach Trevor Bayliss may have identified another rising star.
“I honestly think he is one of those players who will come into international cricket and really raise his game,” said Root.
“James has a fantastic temperament and a solid game, which fits beautifully for Test cricket – and given the opportunity, I’m sure he will take to it and show his class.”
Vaughan’s great hallmark was the one-two of cover-drive followed by pull, often for back-to-back boundaries– shots which are very much part of Vince’s repertoire too. Root added: “He has that very classical cover-drive and the swivel pull ... the two shots that Vaughany was remembered for.
“But I think he is his own player, and I am really looking forward to him stamping his mark on Test cricket and showing everyone what he can do. He will be desperate to prove a name for himself rather than be compared to someone else.
“He is a fine player, and I am really excited he is in the squad.”
At 25, the Yorkshireman is the same age as both Vince and Ball. But with 39 Tests under his belt as he prepares to face Sri Lanka on his home ground next Thursday, he is a relative old hand and certainly an established force as the world’s No 2 ranked Test batsman.
Deployed again in his accustomed No 4 position for the past 12 months, Root may well be the man who welcomes Vince to the crease in Leeds.
Then and beforehand, he will keep the benefit of his experience short and sweet.
“The only advice I would give him is relax and play, and just enjoy the whole occasion – try not to let it get the better of you really,” he said.
Vince already intends to do just that, on his return to the venue where a county championship century last month went a long way to sealing his promotion – in place of James Taylor, who had to retire at the age of 26 because of his serious heart condition.
“Obviously I was (at Headingley) not long ago, and it was nice to spend some time in the middle,” Vince said. “But this is going to be a different feeling. I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m going to try and soak it all up and enjoy it.”
Vince has five limited-overs caps to his name, but said: “Definitely when I was growing up, playing for England in a Test was still the No 1.
“It’s something I’ve been aiming for since I was a little kid really.”
England Test squad (v Sri Lanka at Headingley): AN Cook (Captain), MM Ali, JM Anderson, JM Bairstow, JT Ball, SCJ Broad, NRD Compton, ST Finn, AD Hales, JE Root, BA Stokes, JM Vince.