As the 2017-18 Ashes gets closer & closer, the time has finally come for England to travel to Australia and begin their preparations for most important series of their international calendar. In his first Ashes as captain, Joe Root is extremely motivated to perform to his fullest against the age old rivals. Back in 2013-14 Ashes in Australia, Root only scored 192 runs in 4 tests, ultimately resulting him being dropped for the final test in Sydney.
Root said, “You don’t [think about becoming captain] as a 22-year-old lad being left out for the first time. All you want to do is go back to your county or your next opportunity to play, and prove everyone wrong. Thankfully I did that,” the 26-year-old Yorkshireman added ahead of his first tour as England captain. That drive is still there within me, and I’m desperate to go out there and have a better tour than last time I was there”.
Root was quizzed about whether England can be caught out by the mental battle. He brushed aaside such questions: “At no point did we say they would be. That would be a negative way to go about touring a great country. It’s really important to enjoy the downtime we do get and enjoy the whole nature of touring Australia— the atmosphere of the grounds, the nature of the people around the grounds and when you go out for food the banter that might be flying around and embrace it. You don’t get many opportunities to go and play in an Ashes series in Australia, and it is something you want to look back on and say you approached it in the right way and gave yourself the best chance to be successful and hopefully come away with some fantastic memories”.
Root was unsurprisingly questioned about Ben Stokes’ suspension. Root answered maturely: “I think we’ve got to plan as if he’s not going to be there for the whole series. That’s between me and Ben, being brutally honest. It is disappointing that he’s not going to be on the trip, but you have to move on and move forward as a team. Ben offers a lot to the team, but it’s an opportunity for other guys to stand up in a difficult situation. A lot of the time people do surprise themselves and surprise you, and are capable of more than what they might even think themselves. This is one of those occasions”.
With Root determined to not let the ‘Stokes less’ factor get to him, England must perform to their fullest if they’re to stop Australia in their own backyard.