Joe Root: England Test captain enjoying part-time bowling role in one-day set up

YORKSHIRE'S Joe Root is hoping he can help bowl as well as bat England to success in the Champions Trophy.

England's Jonny Bairstow, right, and Joe Root talk after victory during the first Royal London One Day International at The Brightside Ground, Bristol (Picture: David Davies/PA Wire).

Root is inked in at No 3 in his country’s one-day international plans, and duly delivered in the 2-0 Royal London Series victory over Ireland as he continued his remarkably consistent sequence of scores with an unbeaten 49 at Bristol and then 73 at Lord’s on Sunday.

And, in the absence of all-rounder Moeen Ali – left out of both fixtures as England relied on Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid as sole front-line spinner – Root also contributed with his off-breaks, recording series figures of 5-61, which included a career-best 3-52 at HQ as he bowled his full 10 overs for the first time in his career.

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England’s Test captain and banker batsman across the formats hesitated when the phrase ‘born-again bowler’ was put to him, but confirms he gets a real kick out of taking wickets.

“It’s so much better than scoring runs,” he said.

“I can see why some of the bowlers get so excited at times, because it’s great fun.”

His success against Ireland has increased the feasibility too of England using him again as a spin sidekick this summer, against South Africa or in next month’s Champions Trophy campaign. Root is not averse to the idea, which may mean another rest for Moeen.

Asked if he believes his bowling might fit the bill, he said: “Potentially, yes. We have so many options and such depth within the squad. Whatever wicket we play on, it’s nice knowing you can change your side according to conditions.

“If I can play that role, I hope that gives us a bit more strength in other departments if need be.”

He is not yet convinced he can yet be a front-line contributor, though.

Speaking at the launch of NatWest’s Cricket has no boundaries campaign, he added: “I wouldn’t say ‘born-again bowler’, but it was nice to roll the arm over again.

“I suppose it’s just if I’m required... and if someone doesn’t get hold of me as well.

“It’s been good to try a few different variations – change things up in terms of pace, arm height, release point.

“A few things that I tried worked and I hope I can continue to develop those variations, as small as they might be, and still be effective.

“A big part of my bowling is the mental side of it, trying to work out the conditions, the batters, the risk-reward in what might work in terms of field placings – and see if they’ll take a gamble against me.”

Root was not the only member of England’s Yorkshire contingent to excel against Ireland although the indications remain that Jonny Bairstow’s impressive batting is still unlikely to win him a place in the first-choice team.

Instead, if Bairstow remains cover for others, England can consider themselves especially well served, an important factor noted by Root.

“You have to have that depth, because there’s always something that goes wrong in a major tournament,” he said.

“It always seems to happen, so it’s great there are guys who might not initially be in the starting XI still performing.

“I feel a little bit for (Jonny), but the only thing he can do is keep scoring runs.

“He knows if he continues to do that it’ll be very hard for them to continue to leave him out... it’s a headache I’m glad I haven’t got leading into this tournament.”