Joe Root looking forward to batting at number three against Pakistan

Joe Root in a press conference ahead of the first Test against Pakistan
Joe Root in a press conference ahead of the first Test against Pakistan
©REUTERS / Action Images
 

England batsman Joe Root expressed that he is looking forward to making the number three position his own in the upcoming four-match Test series against Pakistan.

Root, who has scored the bulk of his runs in the fourth and fifth positions, played as an opening batsman in the 2013 Ashes in England and at the number three spot in the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia.

Compared to his excellent batting average in the middle order, Root’s returns at the top of the order have been moderate.

However, the 25-year-old has no qualms about moving up the batting order and said that he is accustomed to playing in the top three positions early in his career.

“I’ve matured quite a lot as a player and my game has developed a lot,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how it goes.

“It would be wrong to compare it to batting anywhere else.

“I’ve batted at No. 3 before but as a kid I always opened so I’m used to batting against the new ball.

“It’s only since I’ve been playing for England that I moved further down anyway.

“I have experience of opening, batting at No. 3 and I’m just looking forward to getting on with it.”

After Jonathan Trott, the last batsman to really succeed at then number three spot was Gary Ballance, who averaged 50.82 in that position between 2014 and 2015.

Players like Ian Bell and Nick Compton were tried out at number three after Ballance was dropped in the 2015 Ashes but neither of them managed to make that position their own.

In search of stability in the top order, England have decided to push Root up the order and the Yorkshire batsman is happy with the promotion.

“There have been a few conversations over the last six months about looking more long-term, not in one series in particular, but that it was something that could happen down the line.

“That was in their thoughts and gave me an opportunity to think about it.

“I was asked leading up to the selection that it could be a possibility, and I said: ‘Yeah, I think that could be the right thing to do’.

“All parties were pretty happy on where it stands.”

Aware of the risks of batting at the number three spot, Root said that he will not change his approach, but rather play according to the demands of the situation in the match.

“Trevor mentioned it to me, so from that point it’s been in my thoughts and I started trying to get my head round it being a big change, but there is not a lot of difference there.

“You could be in second ball, but how I’d line up and look to play would probably not change a huge amount.

“Look to play the situation as it is and take the game from there.

“Any opportunities to score, I’ll still try to do that.”

Given Root’s stellar success with the bat in the recent past, if he is able to replicate that form at the number three position, England will be well served as they aim to climb up to the top of the Test rankings.

Root also revealed that England Test skipper Alastair Cook also wants him to bat in the top order and make the maximum contribution to the team.

“Cooky (Alastair Cook) takes the mick out of me saying you’ve got such a great record batting where you do, but you should do it at the top where it really matters. He is right.

“He said you only did the five Tests and then weaselled your way down the order.

“I’m pretty happy with the opportunity and I just want to get cracking now.”

England will begin the four-match Test series against Pakistan with the first Test at Lord’s which gets underway on Thursday.

© Cricket World 2016