Joe Root causes England selection headache

 

Joe Root's emergence as a first-choice middle-order option may complicate England's selection plans for the Champions Trophy, but batting coach Graham Thorpe would have it no other way.

Root, a protege of Thorpe's with the England Lions over the past two years, has surprised many with the ease of his elevation to full international colours.

Barely two months after his impressive Test debut in Nagpur, the young Yorkshireman is busy establishing himself in both limited-overs formats - and after just seven one-day internationals, his statistics are envious.

The 22-year-old's third half-century in six innings - a career-best, unbeaten 79 - helped England to a series-levelling eight-wicket victory over New Zealand in Napier.

On the eve of the decider at Eden Park, Thorpe acknowledged the tough competition for places which appears inevitable after the return of the rested Kevin Pietersen.

"It's great to have a world-class player who can come back into your side," he said.

"I always think competition is very important at this level, and to have young players putting senior players under pressure is a good thing as well - because then you get the best out of those seniors.

"If England want to be competitive in all three formats, then we need that depth."

Famed game-changer Pietersen will surely be back somewhere in the top four, come what may. But if Root is to be accommodated too, others may be vulnerable.

Thorpe, long an advocate of Root's potential, has been impressed all over again with his most recent performances.

A century on Test debut propelled Thorpe into the limelight at the start of his illustrious England career, however he warns no-one - however gifted, or well-organised - makes seamless progression throughout at the highest level.

"Joe's a quick learner. He's got a good temperament, good character and he's a good player," said Thorpe.

"But it's early, and I think there should always be an edge of caution with young players."

Root is not likely to become flustered at the first sign of the going getting tough, though.

"I think he's a pretty level-headed bloke, which is important, and I think he's improved a lot in the last six months.

"At the moment, it's all gone pretty well for him.

"He seems to have embraced the environment, and fits in very well."

Root has already demonstrated his range of shots, invention and resourcefulness in limited-overs cricket.

His slight frame, however, means he has yet to convince he can hit with the power of so many of England's new breed of batsmen.

Thorpe is nonetheless optimistic Root will continue to address that issue in time. "His power has improved within the last year alone.

"He's physically stronger than he was a year ago, and if you go back 18 months there wasn't that much of him," added Thorpe.

"But he always had a good cricket brain. That's what I sensed about him as a batsman; he has good awareness, and that's what half the battle's all about - when to play certain shots.

"His range of strokes is improving and he's got a good head on his shoulders."

Around Root and Jonathan Trott are a clutch of players who can put the ball out of the ground with apparent ease, and regularity - especially those slightly lower down the current order such as Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler.

"I don't think everybody has to do it in the team," said Thorpe.

"But I'm a big believer you should be able to at least try to play every shot, and then the key is working out which ones are going to be your best in certain situations.

"I like players to experiment, because the more options you have the more chance there is - when the pressure's on - of coming up with a shot which can return that pressure on the bowler."

In Wednesday's win, Trott employed the reverse-sweep in the earliest stage of his innings - an indication perhaps that, with Thorpe's influence, England are open to suggestions about how to stay a step ahead.

"These players are experienced, and know their own games very well," he added.

"I suppose with some of those players who've played for a while, it's whether you can get any 'add-ons' into their game."

Whether there is any tinkering to be done or not, England's latest victory delighted Thorpe - who is hoping for a series-clincher tomorrow, at a ground where the big-hitters may hold sway over conspicuously short straight boundaries.

He said: "It was an all-round pleasing performance, and we'd love to back it up again here tomorrow night.

"If you go back and look at some of the scores here, they're not as high as you might think they could be.

"But you can score over 300, if you set the game up well for yourself."

Touch, timing and power will all play their part if England are to achieve that aim.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee