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Root: Players must deliver for counties to keep Test places

High hopes: England captain Joe Root reacts as batsman Ish Sodhi survives a delivery from Mark Wood yesterday
High hopes: England captain Joe Root reacts as batsman Ish Sodhi survives a delivery from Mark Wood yesterday

By Chris Stocks

Joe Root has warned England's fringe players they will have to perform at the start of the upcoming County Championship season if they want to keep their Test places this summer.

Root was speaking after his team were denied victory on the fifth day of the final Test against New Zealand in Christchurch, England ending a bruising winter with another series defeat following their 4-0 Ashes hammering against Australia.

New Zealand ended the day on 256 for eight to salvage a draw and secure their first series win against England since 1999.

The result also extended the tourists' winless run overseas to 13 matches, their worst ever sequence away from home in Test cricket.

Several players will have their places reviewed ahead of the start of a Test summer which includes series against Pakistan and India, with batsmen Mark Stoneman, James Vince and Dawid Malan the three most under the microscope.

And Root said: "You go into the start of the summer, and you've got to go out and perform.

"Guys who are in the shirt have got to go and prove to everyone that they're an international player. I do think they are some very talented players who are capable of special things in an England shirt. It's up to them to go and prove it at county level."

Root does not believe his team will suffer a hangover from a morale-sapping six-month winter - which has seen them lose five of their seven Tests - ahead of their summer against Pakistan at Lord's next month.

"You get used to long tours as a Test cricketer and you want to play in big series like this and the Ashes but it's not gone as well as we would've liked," he said.

"There will be a lot of frustrated people at home and a lot of frustration within the side.

"We've not performed to our ability and not got the results we wanted - it's been very disappointing. We're nowhere near the finished article, or where we want to be as a side but I do think we've got some very talented cricketers in this format.

"We'll take a lot of confidence from how it's worked this week I hope we can build on it and have a very successful summer."

Former captain Alastair Cook is also under pressure after a series that saw him score just 23 runs at an average of 5.75.

Yet Root does not believe England's record run-scorer is about to call time on his career just yet.

"If those questions keep coming he will answer with a big score," he said. "You look at the way he goes about his business, and nothing's changed."

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