Young batsman willing to do whatever it takes to retain the Ashes.
Joe Root insists he has no problems dropping down England’s batting order for this week’s Ashes series opener against Australia to accommodate in-form Michael Carberry as opener.
The young Yorkshireman is expected to be named at number six for England in Thursday’s first Test at Brisbane’s Gabba after Carberry’s fine start to their Australian tour.
Carberry cemented his claims for a second Test cap by reaching half-centuries in all three warm-up matches, including an unbeaten 153 against Australia A in Hobart.
Carberry’s latest knock of 50 off 71 balls Saturday helped steer the tourists to a seven-wicket win over a Cricket Australia Invitational XI in Sydney.
The batting shift does not appear to have hurt Root, who scored 75 in England’s first innings total of 418 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and he said he had no problem dropping down the order.
“I’m not that egotistical,” the 22-year-old said after Saturday’s win. “I just want to represent England.
“To get an opportunity to bat down the order is a different challenge, but one I’m really looking forward to. Playing for England is the main thing for me.”
Root was exposed by the Australian bowling attack when opening the batting in the last Ashes series.
Although he scored 180 in the second innings at Lord’s he made only one more half-century in his other nine knocks in the July-August series when opening with skipper Alastair Cook.
“I definitely learnt a lot from it and I’ve got a lot of things out of it,” he said.
“There are parts of my game I’ve worked hard on from last (English) summer… hopefully I can become a better player for it.”
Root was all praise for what Hampshire opener Carberry has achieved so far in Australia. “If you look at Michael Carberry’s tour so far, he has played exceptionally well and scored a huge amount of runs and been in very good form,” he said.
“It’s hard to ignore that. As far as the team is concerned it’s very exciting.”
Root, who had an X-ray after being hit on the finger in his first-innings 75 but was cleared of any break, is confident he can make a good fist of batting down the order.
“The basics are pretty similar,” he said. “There is still a guy 22 yards away throwing a ball at you. The second new ball is another challenge — and if that opportunity comes I hope I can manage it well and do a job for the team.”
Opener Ed Cowan, who has been passed over by Australia for this week’s Test, believes Root’s ability and the experience gained at the top of the order have him primed to dominate at six, like the retired Mike Hussey did for Australia.
“Like we saw with Mike Hussey’s career I think it’s a nice spot to bat at number six if you have had experience against a new ball before,” Cowan said.
“I like the look of Joe Root. Opening is a good place to learn about Test cricket. There’s nowhere to hide and it was a bit of a baptism for him against some high class fast bowling in England.
“It’s certainly an easier place to bat at number six than opening the batting so I think that will give him some confidence and he’s playing nicely.”