Joe Root, England’s Test captain has opined that this winter’s tours of Sri Lanka and India will give a good indication of how much England have progressed as a Test team, and also what to expect from the side ahead of next year’s Ashes in Australia.
England will play two Tests in Sri Lanka in January before heading to India, where they will feature in four Tests, three ODIs and five T20Is. It may be recalled that England were the last team to beat India in India in a Test series back in 2012.
Joe Root: Build Up To Ashes Start With Sri Lanka And India Tours
Joe Root has played 97 Tests, 149 ODIs and he averages 47.99 and 50.1 respectively with the bat. Following the resignation of predecessor Alastair Cook, he was named as his replacement and the full-time Test captain on 13 February 2017 as the 80th captain of England.
However, Team India have improved tremendously since the loss to England in 2012 and been invincible at home since. Joe Root told Sky Sports that twin tours to the two Asian nations will actually be a build-up to the Ashes.
“The build-up (to the Ashes) starts really a year out. I know it’s going to be a huge series for the team and probably for me as a captain. I’m just really excited. I know we’re in a really good place currently. Can we make sure that we are in that same place in a year’s time walking out for that first Test match?,” he wondered.
The last time England were in Sri Lanka in 2018, the side achieved incredible results, whitewashing the Lankans 3-0 in the Tests and winning the five-match ODI series by 3-1.
England also clinched the one-off T20I to make it a complete performance. Reflecting on the successful Sri Lankan tour, Joe Root added:
“We had great experiences and results last time out in Sri Lanka and that will give a number of players a huge amount of confidence going back there with some great memories.”
As for the Indian challenge, Root said, “Every team finds it a huge challenge to win in India. I think that’s a really good test for where we are at as a team.”
On a personal level, Joe Root hasn’t had a great time with the bat. Since January 2019, he has only two Test centuries to his name, although one of those was a double century at Hamilton almost exactly a year back. He averaged 79.67 against New Zealand in 2019-20.
Joe Root: Haven’t Really Got Returns As Expected
“I haven’t really got the returns that I would like and would pride myself on but that’s almost a new challenge for me. Can I step my game up again and get to that level that I desire to be at?” Root said.
Joe Root has featured in 97 Tests and 149 ODIs for England, scoring 7823 and 5962 runs respectively. He averages nearly 48 in the traditional format and over 50 in ODIs.
Although Joe Root has also played 32 T20Is, he no longer seems to be in the scheme of things for England as far as the shortest format is concerned.