Joe Root has already amassed 8617 runs in 103 Tests but the 30-year-old believes his best is yet to come. Only Sir Alastair Cook (12472) and Graham Gooch (8900) have scored more runs than Root for England in the longest format of the game, but the current Test captain could surpass Gooch in the next two-match series against New Zealand next month. England are then also scheduled to play a five-Tests series against India in August-September.
Root has been in solid form of late, having slammed scores of 228, 186 and 218 in successive Tests in Sri Lanka and India earlier this year. He single-handedly won England the series in Sri Lanka but they were brushed aside 3-1 by Virat Kohli and Co. "I feel I've grown a lot in the past year or so, and now have a good handle on things," he told Sportsmail.
"I was obviously disappointed with the way India finished, but I do feel we're making big strides as a Test group, and we're coming into an exciting phase of games, which could really see us flourish. We know we're not the best team in the world currently, and there's real room for improvement.
"But we've started to be more consistent in certain areas which have let us down in the past. We're scoring bigger first-innings runs. We're taking 20 wickets more frequently away from home. If we can continue that trend, we'll be knocking on the door sooner rather than later.
"(On a personal note), I certainly feel the best is still to come. I want to have more series like the start of this winter, and produce those big hundreds which help you win series. I'm hungry to make the next phase of my career the peak.
"I've worked very hard on a few aspects of my game, the mental side as well as technical. I feel a lot more in control, and like I'm playing the ball much later. That, for me, is the art of batting – if you can keep your head and hands as close together as possible, you give yourself a better chance. Hopefully, I can have a bumper year," said Root, who was speaking at the launch of cinch's partnership with England cricket.
Talking about the Fab Four, Root said: "I think that's more for cricket lovers than the four lads who are talked about. It's really nice to be in the same conversation as those three (Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson), because they're wonderful players. But it's about producing, not about what's said about you."
The England batsmen struggled to adjust to the conditions in India but that won't be the case at home. Root however wants his team to learn and evolve. "Those experiences will at some point hold us in good stead, and it's important we don't just ignore what happened out there.
"We're going to be playing in very different conditions this summer, and in the Ashes, but there are elements of India we can take forward. One thing we can draw from it is the pressure side in those difficult situations: how do you handle it mentally, how do you transfer it to other parts of the world?"