Root eager for more ODI bowling

2017-05-09 20:25
Joe Root (AP)

London - Test captain Joe Root is keen to play his part with the ball as well as the bat when tournament hosts England bid to win next month's Champions Trophy.

Root, England's number three in a one-day international team captained by Eoin Morgan, is one of the world's leading batsmen in all formats.

The Yorkshireman was in the runs during last week's 2-0 ODI series win at home to Ireland, making 49 at Bristol and 73 at Lord's.

But the 'occasional' off-spinner also starred with the ball, taking five wickets across the two matches, including an ODI best three for 52 in Sunday's encounter at Lord's.

England relied on leg-spinner Adil Rashid as their lone specialist against Ireland, with Root providing spin back-up to his county colleague.

That meant there was no place for Moeen Ali, an off-spinning all-rounder, in either of the matches against Ireland. There are those who feel Root is just as likely to take wickets in a white-ball context as Ali, primarily a batsman.

Sunday's match also saw Root bowl his maximum permitted 10 overs for the first time in his ODI career and he would have no qualms about repeating the experience following his three-wicket haul.

"It's so much better than scoring runs!" he said while speaking at sponsors NatWest bank's 'Cricket has no boundaries campaign' on Tuesday.

"I can see why some of the bowlers get so excited at times, because it's great fun."

England have three more ODIs later this month at home to South Africa ahead of the Champions Trophy and the Proteas' powerful batting line-up could prove an acid test of Root's usefulness as a 'part-time' bowler.

"We have so many options and such depth within the squad," he said. "If I can play that role, I hope that gives us a bit more strength in other departments if need be."

Root, however, stopped short of classifying himself as a fully-fledged all-rounder.

"I suppose it's just if I'm required... and if someone doesn't get hold of me as well!," he said. "A few things that I tried worked - and I hope I can continue to develop those variations, as small as they might be, and still be effective.

"A big part of my bowling is the mental side of it, trying to work out the conditions, the batters, the risk-reward in what might work in terms of field placings - and see if they'll take a gamble against me."

It is possible Root could be rested from England's three Twenty20s with South Africa to play in a round of pink-ball County Championship matches to gain experience ahead of the country's inaugural day/night Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston starting on August 17.

But the 26-year-old dismissed suggestions that he had any intention of retiring from Twenty20 internationals because of his increased workload as Test captain.

"I've got no intention of resting from Twenty20 cricket," he said. "So as much as possible, I'll be making sure I'm available to play."

Read more on:    england  |  champions trophy  |  joe root  |  cricket


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