Root ready for Ashes down under

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Newly appointed England skipper Joe Root has admitted that he wasn’t even vaguely prepared for the experience of playing in Australia during the ill-fated 2013-14 Ashes.

Root scored just 192 runs in 8 innings before being dropped for the fifth Test as England went down in flames losing 5-0 to an aggressive Australia outfit fronted by Mitchell Johnson.

The skipper conceded that he wasn’t prepared for the hostile crowds and equally hostile opposition and the level of verbal abuse they were subjected to.

Speaking from Headingley ahead of the start of the English season Root said: “That first Test match at Brisbane, when I walked out to bat, I think it did it hit me quite hard.

“It was like I walked into a conservatory door: I was not aware at all that it was there.

“For large periods of that trip, I was spending my time and energy working on things that other people said I needed to work on; getting forward; a bigger stride; getting into the ball. But in reality, they were bowling 95mph bouncers, so it was pointless.

“But I will be slightly more aware this time. I won’t be caught cold. I know what to expect from what can be quite a hostile environment.”

Root has also taken it upon himself to ensure the young members of the England Test team are not similarly exposed in particular the very young Haseeb Hameed.

The skipper said: “I think it’s very important that the guys that haven’t been there get a good idea of what it can be like.

“They shouldn’t be afraid of it. They should try to embrace it and enjoy it. It’s not always easy to enjoy it, but that tour is a great opportunity for this team.

“I think I’ve done all my learning from that tour already. I came back from it and thought: just strengthen all the things that have served you very well for long periods of time and slowly but surely work on the rest of it. From that I gained a lot of confidence. It was a really good way, from being in quite a difficult spot, of feeling good again.”

Root is well-aware that his biggest responsibility remains ensuring that he gets run as England’s best batsman and takes the pressure off the lower-order who have had a lot to do for England in recent times.

He added: “I’ve had a lot of people provide quite similar advice.

“But the one thing that’s really stuck out is ‘just make sure you look after your own game and concentrate on scoring as many runs as possible.’

“That might come across as quite selfish. But I think it’s going to be very important for me, mentally as well, to put in the work and set the right example when the opportunities arise.”