Gillespie backs Root ahead of Robson

England

Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie has insisted England select the talented Joe Root as an opening batsman in Test match cricket.

Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie has insisted England select the talented Joe Root as an opening batsman in Test match cricket.

Root batted at the top of the order during England's three-nil series win over the Australians in the United Kingdom last year, but was moved to positions three and six for the return visit, which ended in five-nil whitewash.

The New South Wales-born Sam Robson, who recently qualified to play for the English, has since emerged as the leading contender to open the batting alongside captain Alastair Cook in June's series against Sri Lanka and July's showdown with India.

Robson has enjoyed a terrific stretch of form at first-class level recently, including fine centuries against Nottinghamshire at Lord's and Hampshire at the Rose Bowl, and subsequently received the public support of Australian batsman and Middlesex team-mate Chris Rogers.

"I respectfully disagree with Chris, Joe Root is a fantastic opening batsman," Gillespie told <i>BBC Radio Leeds</i>. "Joe has performed very well in that opening role for both Yorkshire and England, but the beauty about him is he's a very adaptable cricketer, he can pretty much bat anywhere and has done that in his Test career so far.

"In part he probably hasn't been as consistent as he would have liked but he has been moved around and batted in a number of positions, whereas other players have just been locked in to certain spots.

"I think he can open, and be equally adaptable in the middle order. The point is he's a very important part of England's future and I'm looking forward to seeing him have a long and fruitful career for his country."

The 38-year-old Gillespie did not apply for the vacant England head coach's position. A successor to Zimbabwean Andy Flower has not yet been named, with one of limited-overs coach Ashley Giles, former Test coach Peter Moores, erstwhile Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss or Nottinghamshire's Mick Newell expected to be hired soon.

"It's incredibly flattering that people would put my name forward and suggest I would do a good job, and an international job at some point in the future is something that may appeal, but I feel I still have a lot to learn," added Gillespie.

"I didn't apply, I wasn't asked to apply. It will be a fantastic opportunity for whoever is appointed. I still have plenty to learn about both coaching and man-management, and I feel I'm in the right place at Yorkshire to get that education."

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