Joe Root still reluctant to open up about night he faced David Warner's fists

As Joe Root learnt, almost to the cost of his angelic face, as an England opener in the Ashes the old enemy will throw every-thing at you. From bouncers and beamers to bunches of fives in Birmingham, to survive the hostility in the opening over of the opening Test on your Ashes debut requires temperament.

Luckily for England, but not for the suspended David Warner, Root is the Croesus of cricket. Not only did the Yorkshireman refuse to retaliate, he also refuses to hold a grudge.

"That's all behind me now," said Root as he prepares to open for England in their four-day match against Essex, which begins at Chelmsford today. "We've spoken about it for a long time, now I'm just really looking forward to getting out there and getting absorbed."

The cricket just happens to be the biggest series in the game. Not that you would guess it from Root's pragmatic approach, which is in contrast to his exuberance and technical dexterity at the crease.

"I know it's the Ashes but it's just another game of cricket, against 11 blokes. You face the ball coming down just like any other, so it's about trying to manage the atmosphere and everything going on around you. That starts tomorrow with the first ball that I face."

Root is reluctant to cast light on the nightclub incident with Warner. So, like that most famous punch-up in Ashes folklore – Ian Botham v Ian Chappell at the MCG bar in 1977 – the details remain a mystery. That, though, is where the similarities between the feuds end.

Botham and Chappell have rarely spoken since, although each has had plenty to say of the other. England's 1981 Ashes hero has said of Chappell that "as a human being he's a nonentity". For the Australian, there is no love lost: "It would suit me if I never spoke to the guy again."

Unfortunately for the current Australians, the 22-year-old Root possesses a maturity in inverse proportion to his youthful countenance. There will be no long-running feud with Warner and, try as they might, there is no way to get under his skin.

"He's apologised," said Root, "I've accepted it, I'm done with it all and we can move on and concentrate on cricket."

Concentrating on cricket is what Australia, and Warner in particular, have been struggling to do in the build-up to the First Test at Trent Bridge on 10 July. When Darren Lehmann, whom Root remembers from his Yorkshire Academy days, replaced the sacked Micky Arthur as coach, he announced that Shane Watson would open.

While the tale of Root's anointment as opener alongside Alastair Cook felt inevitable, it is not easy to guess Watson's opening partner. Warner was one option, but suspension has ruled him out for the First Test. Ed Cowan is another, but he averages just 32.90 in 17 Tests. Then there is Phil Hughes, with a highest score of 36 in five top-order appearances against England. That leaves Chris Rodgers, 35 and with just one Test cap.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence