It's a compliment to be known as England's Aussie, says Joe Root

Batsman enjoying 'every minute' of his fine start in the side which is earning rave reviews

With delicate precision, Joe Root hit his third ball in international cricket through extra cover for three. He drove his 10th crisply in front of square to bring his first boundary.

Those moments facing Piyush Chawla and Pragyan Ojha of India in Nagpur seemed to confirm that England were on to something. It was like watching David Gower all those years ago – 2 June 1978 to be exact – dismissively pulling his first ball in Tests, from Liaqat Ali, for four. You just knew. The idea that 13 December 2012 was the start of a career similarly illustrious is a big one but everything that Root has done then and since suggests style and durability. There have been no hundreds yet, so it is important not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but there have been no failures either.

Root scored 73 in that final Test which added ballast to England's innings when it was most needed and his lowest score in seven one-day innings is 28 not out. He has provided maturity, authority, clarity and probably a few other qualities not necessarily ending in -ity. He looks the part, he manages an innings.

"It's been really enjoyable, I've loved every minute of it," he said here in Queenstown as England enjoyed a day off ahead of their tour match against New Zealand A which precedes the Test series starting next week. "Just being a part of it and representing my country, it's what you want to do growing up. I'm just trying to do things I've always done. It seems to have come off so far."

Everybody around this touring squad talks of how much Root has progressed in the last six months. His new status was authenticated yesterday when he was wheeled out to be interviewed on behalf of sponsors and nobody does that unless they are somebody.

Since breaking into Yorkshire's side as a 20-year-old in 2011 he has been regularly cast as the heir presumptive to a line of magnificent Yorkshire and England opening batsmen – Herbert Sutcliffe, Len Hutton, Geoff Boycott, Michael Vaughan.

But he was still a selectorial punt when he was picked for the tour of India last year. His 2012 season petered out after his accomplished 222 not out against Hampshire in July; there was only one fifty in his last 13 innings. Yet it seemed his duties would predominantly involve nets and drinks carrying when Nick Compton was preferred as Alastair Cook's opening partner. Root's practice time was not wasted. For the last match England changed a winning team, ordaining that he was the man for the job of winning the series.

The other day, New Zealand's captain, Brendon McCullum, said there was something Australian about the way Root handled himself at the crease. "I'll take it as a compliment," said Root. "I'm not a very intimidating bloke to look at so I've got to try and find a way to make sure they know I mean business. I'm quite quiet as well so I need to make sure they can hear me down at the other end."

Root's father Matt played in the same team with a young Vaughan at Sheffield Collegiate club. Root remembers watching from the boundary as a very young boy. By the time he was nine he was picked for the fifths, by 11 he scored his first hundred for his school, by 14 he was in the club first team.

"The thing is, I was so little growing up – I was way behind everyone else – it took me 50 overs to get 50," he said. "A lot of the time I was not out but I just couldn't get it off the square. They'd set a ring field, I wasn't able to get it past them.

"I started to grow from 16 to 18. I had a year, my first year on staff at Yorkshire actually, where I grew about six inches and found my whole technique was wrong. I had to change my whole stance completely just because I'd grown and everything was slightly different. I think that helped me as well."

It is difficult to envisage Root now as a scrawny little kid. He is 6ft tall and he walks like John Wayne in True Grit, bow-legged and deliberate. He confounds this image by patrolling the boundary more like Usain Bolt where, allied to his large, safe hands he has performed sterling service this winter. Vaughan rather upped the ante last week by saying Root would be England's next captain. True, he had been named as captain of England Lions this winter until senior duties came along but it still seemed a bit premature.

Three things are possible imminently: that he will continue in his role at No 6 against New Zealand; that he will open the batting in place of Compton, which would be a hard-nosed call but would firmly look to the future; or that he could be omitted because the selectors think somebody else, his fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow, say, is more suited to the particular matter in hand.

The last of those is the least likely. Root really does seem to have put down roots.

Stats magic: Root in numbers

79: Best ODI score, hit in the second match against New Zealand

30: First player to score 30-plus runs in each of his first six ODI innings

93.00: Test batting average after one match, against India in December

Investec, the specialist bank and asset manager, is the title sponsor of Test match cricket in England. Visit investec.co.uk/cricket or follow us @InvestecCricket

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future