Joe Root believes the sight of captain Eoin Morgan smashing his way into cricket’s history books has lit a fuse under the England dressing room at the World Cup.
Morgan played the innings of a lifetime against Afghanistan at Old Trafford, launching 17 sixes in a ferocious 148 – the most maximums ever scored in a one-day international innings.
It was an incredible, sustained display of power-hitting that any batsman on the planet would have been proud of, including the battery of heavy hitters in the England line-up.
But the fact that it was the home side’s skipper, who has done more than anyone to revitalise the country’s flagging limited-overs methods after the 2015 edition, has gone down well with his team-mates.
Root is no slouch himself, with a tournament tally of 367 runs at 91.75, but was happy to defer to Morgan after his career-best contribution.
“It was phenomenal, ridiculous really. It’s not even like it is a small ground!” he said after England’s 150-run win.
“It’s a really good sign for the group having the captain in that sort of form, playing as well as that. I thought his game was impeccable. It gives the dressing room a huge amount of confidence. For it to happen now, at the business end of things when you want to be building momentum and performing consistently well. It’s a really good place for us to be, having him leading from the front.”
England are comfortably set for a semi-final berth after four wins from five matches and will be strongly fancied to continue in the same vein when Sri Lanka visit Headingley on Friday.
That is a home game in every sense for Root and his fellow Yorkshiremen Jonny Bairstow, and Adil Rashid, who will be hoping to treat the locals to another handsome victory.
“I’m very much looking forward to getting up to Leeds, seeing the new stand there full,” said the Test captain.
“It should be a great spectacle for the city, for the county and to get the chance to play in a World Cup there is personally very special. Hopefully, we can continue the form we are in and get another win.”
Pace bowler Mark Wood is equally glad to be returning to Headingley, where England defeated Pakistan by 54 runs last month, and hopes to whip the fans into a frenzy.
“I haven’t heard the crowd sing ‘we are top of the league’ yet but maybe in the next couple of games if we can keep this run going and can cement that spot,” he said.