New Delhi, Feb 7: England’s premier batter Joe Root believes that the youngsters coming into the Test side feel like they belong to this format and are driven by a purpose to be within the team.
The ongoing five-match Test series between England and India is squared at 1-1, with the youngsters for the visitors shining in the two games so far. Vice-captain Ollie Pope played an influential hand with his epic 196 at Hyderabad while debutant Tom Hartley took 7-62 on Test debut in the win at Hyderabad.
In the second Test at Visakhapatnam, where England lost by 106 runs, there were silver linings in teenage spinner Rehan Ahmed taking three-fers in both innings and debutant off-spinner Shoaib Bashir taking four wickets on debut. Hartley also took a four-fer in the second innings while opener Zak Crawley had 70+ scores in both innings.
“It’s great and that’s all part and parcel of the game. If you play Test cricket for long periods of time, you’re going to see players leave the group and see young guys come in. The more you play, the more responsibility you have for trying to create a really enjoyable environment and one that allows them to thrive and feel as comfortable and as confident as possible. These young guys come in and I really feel they belong on this stage and have a purpose within the team,” said Root to JioCinema.
Talking about Pope’s knock in Hyderabad, Root was lavish in his praise. “Ollie went out and probably played one of the best overseas innings you'll see in these conditions, especially against that attack on that surface.
“The more time we spend in these conditions, hopefully, we can continue to familiarize ourselves and keep that calmness about how we go about things. But also, when the chances are there and when the time’s right, we can keep applying pressure and then try to attack at the right moment.”
Asked if England had doubted their Bazball style of play after being bowled out for 246 in the first innings at Hyderabad, Root denied such ideas emerged in the camp. "No. Regardless, of the result of the game, we’re always going to play how we know. It’s what’s given us success for a good period of time now. It’s what brings the best out of us.
“We’ve been in similar situations before. The last time we played India in England, in that one-off Test, we were miles behind in the game and we managed to chase that score down. There have been numerous other occasions where we've done things that we never thought we could have done before. So, we'll never stop believing, we'll never feel like we're out of the game.”
Speaking on whether England focuses on planning for Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli (unavailable for first two Tests due to personal reasons) during their team meetings, Root said, “We don’t really do team meetings anymore. That’s one of the great things about how we do all of our conversations away from the game and just that enjoyment and buzz about spending time with each other.
“We don’t have to sit in a meeting room and I think it’s more authentic and more genuine when you can have it around a dinner table. Having a coffee in the morning or whatever, I think that’s when you do your best learning. You mentioned two of the greats of the modern era. Of course, there’s going to be focus.
“We know how good they are and they are also very senior within this current Indian batting lineup. So, clearly, they’ve got a big role to play within this Test team. You want to make sure that you try and get on top of them early. They’ve got the ability to get big scores and we’ve been on the wrong end of that a few times, so it would be nice to try and keep them as quiet as we can throughout the series.” (IANS)