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Root raring 'to just go and play the game' in the upcoming Ashes

Last updated on 05 Jun 2023 | 06:24 AM
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Root raring 'to just go and play the game' in the upcoming Ashes

The right-handed batter will be without captaincy duties for the first time in an Ashes series since 2015

Joe Root is relishing his role as a senior batter in the current England set-up after relinquishing his captaincy responsibilities to Ben Stokes after the West Indies series in 2021. 

The right-handed batter, who was the star of England's Ashes win in 2015, scoring 460 runs at an average of 56.7 to help the team win the series 3-2, will be without the burden of leadership for the first time in the marquee series post the 2015 triumph. 

"It's going to be nice to just go and play the game and try and assist where I can for Ben and for the other guys around. Play a slightly different senior role in the team," he said, as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo. 

"They're always great fun to be a part of - these big games, big series. They're the ones you want to stand up and play well, and it's just an opportunity to do that again," he added. 

Under the astute leadership of Stokes and Brendon McCullum, England adopted an aggressive style of play and won 11 out of their 13 matches. 

While Root started the new era in English cricket with three tons in four games, his performance went downhill in the series against Pakistan. 

However, the 32-year-old bounced back in a commanding fashion with an unbeaten 153 and 95 against New Zealand in Wellington and a quickfire fifty against Ireland last week. 

"I think my batting has been fine for a while, but mentally, just to be able to just turn up and play and have fun. Just chat batting with some of the younger guys."

"Ben knows what he's doing. He's got enough behind him now to give himself the encouragement and confidence to make those big calls on his own, as you'd expect him to anyway. He's doing a far better job than I did," he added. 

With plenty of hype and expectation surrounding the upcoming Ashes series at home, Root insisted it is important for the team to focus on the game and shut out the outside noise. "Most importantly, it is not to over-egg it, and that's probably one of the things that you have to keep in mind," he said. 

"There will be a lot more attention, and there will be a lot more noise, there will be a lot more hype around it. There will be people that might not normally be interested in cricket but will be very interested in cricket for 5 or 6 weeks.

"It's the same game. As soon as the bowler lets go of it, it's you against the ball. Just go and play as you've been playing for the last 12 months. And when it goes well, enjoy everything that comes with it."

"If you're successful in Ashes cricket, it can set you up for life really, not just the rest of your career but beyond it. It's an opportunity to go and make history and hopefully have an incredible two months of it as a group," he concluded. 

The first of the five-Test series between England and Australia will be played at Edgbaston in Birmingham starting June 16. 

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