London - England's new Test captain Joe Root will seek to
bolster his leadership skills with big scores and has promised to ensure the
side are better prepared to defend the Ashes in Australia than they were on the
Root has emerged as England's batting mainstay since his
debut in 2012 and took over as skipper last month after Alastair Cook stepped
down from the role following the side's 4-0 loss in the five-test series in
India at the end of 2016.
Root was also part of the squad that were blanked 5-0 in
Australia in 2013-14 and the form of the world's third-ranked test batsman will
be crucial if England are to hold on to the Ashes trophy they regained with a
3-2 win at home in 2015.
The Yorkshireman said that the extra responsibility did not
mean he would be neglecting his own batting duties and that he had opened his
ears to plenty of useful advice.
"The one thing that's really stuck out is 'just make
sure you look after your own game and concentrate on scoring as many runs as
possible'," he told the British media.
"That might come across as quite selfish. But I think
it's going to be very important for me, mentally as well, to put in the work
and set the right example when the opportunities arise."
Australia captain Steve Smith and New Zealand skipper Kane
Williamson are the batsmen ahead of Root in the world Test rankings, while
India's Virat Kohli has also flourished as a leading batsman in charge of his
"They are great examples of taking that responsibility
and making it a real asset to their games," said Root, who will captain
England for the first time against South Africa at Lord's on July 6.
"It's a good opportunity for me to do exactly the same.
In the past, the more responsibility I've been given, I've generally responded
well to it. Hopefully that will be the same," the 26-year-old added.
Root was 22 during England's last trip to Australia and had
a largely forgettable series, during which he averaged 27.42 before he was
dropped following the fourth Test.
"That first test match at Brisbane, when I walked out
to bat, I think it did it hit me quite hard," Root said.
"It was like I walked into a conservatory door: I was
not aware at all that it was there. But I will be slightly more aware this
time. I won't be caught cold. I know what to expect from what can be quite a
"I think it's very important that the guys that haven't
been there get a good idea of what it can be like. They shouldn't be afraid of
it. They should try to embrace it and enjoy it."