The Australians have revealed they will target England captain Joe Root through the series with one to go for the much-awaited Ashes series.
However, Root retaliated by saying ‘bring it on’ ahead of their final warm-up game in Townsville. As the proverb goes, if you can keep the captain quiet, the rest of the team will follow, the Australian team will attempt to single out the touring captain on the field with words and work given the importance Root possesses with the bat. However, Root is not perplexed with such talks.
“I’ve heard a lot of chat about targeting me in particular. From our point of view, we’ll be targeting every single one of them. We won’t be singling anyone out. To win a Test match, you have to take 20 wickets. Of course, we’ll have plans in place for each individual player. Bring it on. That’s what it’s about. You want that competitive element to it and little in-house rivalries if you like. It should be a great series. They’ve got some great players in their squad, and some great characters which I am sure will make for some great viewing,” Root was heard saying earlier today.
England will be likely to face the much-debated pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Jose Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for the first Test at Gabba. Earlier, Cummins has started the verbal war by stating that he wants to be the team’s enforcer against England by ’getting in their faces and being relentless,’ the same way Mitchell Johnson did in the 2013-14 season.
Talking about whether the England team fears Starc and Co, the 26-year-old batsman added,
“I don’t think fear’s the right word. I think respect is a better word. They’ve got a lot of quality in their attack, but we’ve got a lot of quality in our team as well. I’m not sure those are the words that will be flying around our dressing room. These are the sort of the statements you expect two weeks out from the first Ashes Test in Australia.”
England has announced their top six for their final warm-up game against Cricket Australia XI, showing that Moeen Ali will return to the squad after injury while James Anderson will make way for Stuart Broad.
Jake Ball is also left out of the team who sustained an injury in England’s win over CA Xi in Adelaide, although he is recovering fast.
The right-handed batter seemed to be satisfied with the preparation for the Ashes series. However, he wants some big scores from the batsmen.
He further added the mentality of scoring runs through the five Test matches. Root was not too much concerned when asked about the nature of opponents and pitches England had played on meant they would not be sufficiently accustomed for the first Test.
“When you come to these warm-up games, I remember last time around; it was very similar, the same sort of sides we played against and surfaces we played on. You’ve just got to try and make the most of it. I think we’ve mentally approached it slightly differently this time around and slightly better if I’m honest. One thing you get from here [Townsville] is the heat. It might be raining now but it is quite warm and humid, and there might be an element of that in Brisbane. We’ve just got to make the most of four days of hard cricket. We’ve got to make sure we get the best out of ourselves leading into that first game,” Root concluded.