Joe Root determined to remain grounded ahead of England’s latest Test
Captain Root is looking for consolidation at Lord’s.
Joe Root is refusing to get ahead of himself against India at Lord’s as he begins to put his stamp on the England captaincy.
The Yorkshireman was sensibly in no mood to crow about his part in the hard-earned victory in England’s 1,000th Test at Edgbaston, which put them 1-0 up in this Specsavers series.
Indeed on the eve of the second Test, Root deftly deflected any suggestion that he was the orchestrator of a 31-run win which hogged the back pages last weekend.
Find someone who makes you smile like this... 😁 pic.twitter.com/GRVq4YSzza— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 8, 2018
“Ultimately, regardless of what you do as captain, your players have to perform – and I thought they were exceptional,” he said.
“It’s not for me to take the credit for their hard work.
“Under pressure we stayed calm… it would have been easy for us to chase the game on that last morning, but we didn’t.
“It’s nice to know our thinking is right and we’re able to follow through on that when it really matters.”
Root contributed a crucial first-innings 80, then kept making the right calls with bowling changes – right down to the make-or-break fourth morning when Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid repaid his faith and timing.
After a hit-and-miss tenure so far – more defeats than victories in 17 Tests in charge, a miserable winter and winless sequence extended to eight at Lord’s in May – a second consecutive success was a much-needed morale boost.
More than that, it felt like a staging post in Root’s development.
“It does take a little bit of time to get used to things… there has been a lot of learning throughout the year and a half,” he said.
“(But) I think from the start of this summer I had a real clear idea about how we want to go about things.”
It did not start well against Pakistan, but England’s latest thrilling win may prove to be a new benchmark for their captain.
He said: “It fills you with masses of confidence… to win a close game.
“One of the most exciting things about last week is that we weren’t at our best but we found a way to win under pressure, and wrestle momentum back.
🗣@@root66 "It’s a very exciting time for @@OPope32 Hopefully he can go out and express himself, play exactly as he has done for Surrey and continue his fine form."— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 8, 2018
➡️ https://t.co/Syj49YbXMb pic.twitter.com/dfhGuTbmR4
“That’s a sign of some strong characters in our dressing room and, having had some indifferent results in the recent past, to pull off a win like that is a really good sign.
“But it’s about backing it up now, looking for consistency in back-to-back games, and this is an opportunity to do that.”
Root also confirmed that 20-year-old Ollie Pope will bat at number four on his debut.
Like India, England have retained the option of fielding two spinners on a pitch which is expected to bely its green appearance and take turn after weeks of heatwave conditions.