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“If at any point it gets too much, you have to be fair enough to raise your hands and that includes me as a captain. It comes down to the honesty of the individual”; Root says calm and rotation will be key as England prepares for Ashes

Last updated: 01/12/21 11:42 AM







2:49

Joe Root says rest and rotation will be crucial this winter as England look for a ‘robust’ team to beat Australia in the Ashes.

Joe Root says rest and rotation will be crucial this winter as England look for a ‘robust’ team to beat Australia in the Ashes.

England captain Joe Root has urged players, including himself, to reveal if they are struggling with the amount of international cricket this winter and need a break.

England will play six Tests on the subcontinent between Thursday and early March, with two games in Sri Lanka which you can watch live on Sky Sports – and then four in India.

Speak against Sky Sports’ Michael Atherton, Root says even he should speak up if burdens get too high during a busy period of action while residing in bio-secured bubbles.

Players will receive additional support from a clinical psychologist in Sri Lanka, with Dr. James Bickley of the Changing Minds organization joining head coach Chris Silverwood’s backroom team.

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Root said, “As a group, we have talked a lot about the mental and physical demands that will be this year, and this winter in particular.

“If at any point it gets too much, you have to be fair enough to raise your hands and that includes me as a captain. It comes down to the honesty of the individual.

“It’s not that they say they can’t take up the challenge, it’s just for the betterment of the team and to give ourselves the best chance of winning that this is the right thing to do. we will do it for sure.

“I’m desperate for cricket matches and I want to get involved and play, but if it’s not the right choice I will definitely try to make sure I make the right choice.”

Root's team will start a test series of two games in Sri Lanka on Thursday - AP photo

Root’s team will start a test series of two games in Sri Lanka on Thursday – AP photo

On England’s use of a psychologist to deal with any anxiety in the group while they are touring during a pandemic, Root added, “When you’re constantly going from hotel to ground, it can be a little overwhelming – you can be in you go up and find no way to get away from the game.

“Having someone to manage that and give you processes to handle it better is really important. Not everyone will use it equally, and that’s absolutely fine, but it’s really important for the guys to know that someone is out to help what is out there. a really tough time to tour. “

England will play 17 Tests this year – 18 if they make it to the World Test Championship final – culminating in an Ashes tour.

Root says rest and rotation in the squad will be crucial as he appears to have a “robust” team to take on Australia.

All-rounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Jofra Archer have been given a breather for the series in Sri Lanka, while national selector Ed Smith has announced that wicket-keeper Jos Buttler will be given some free time during the four-Test assignment in India that follows.

Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes are featured for the Sri Lanka Series - AP Photo

Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes are featured for the Sri Lanka Series – AP Photo

Root said, “It’s going to be a really big year for everyone involved in the Test squads – and very different as Covid has made a big impact, especially with touring.

“A few guys had to rest for this series and that will be the same in India with the number of games we have in a short time.

“Rest and rotation will be a very important part of building up to the back of the year with an Ashes approaching.

“We have to be on the lookout now and make sure we get a win in Sri Lanka and India, but also look at what’s to come.

2:45
England’s talented line-up will be a force to compete for Australia’s Ashes next winter, Stuart Broad said.

England’s talented line-up will be a force to compete for the Ashes in Australia next winter, Stuart Broad said.

“We put in a lot of planning this winter, but we also looked far ahead and tried to make sure we have a really robust team that is fit and ready to perform under those conditions.”

England won 3-0 against Sri Lanka in late 2018 when Root took his first win away from home as Test captain – but the side have not won in India since 2012 and in Australia since 2010/11.

Root says the coronavirus pandemic will make changing that process more difficult, but is confident he has the arsenal in his squad to challenge Virat Kohli and Tim Paine’s men respectively in their own circumstances.

The 30-year-old added: “I think we will have to play very well. Besides the fact that it is difficult to win away anyway, there are a number of factors for touring teams that seem to make it a bit more difficult.

1:09
Root says Essex batsman Dan Lawrence has talent to succeed in Test cricket ahead of his anticipated debut against Sri Lanka

Root says Essex batsman Dan Lawrence has talent to succeed in Test cricket ahead of his anticipated debut against Sri Lanka

“Whether that’s the demands of the game and the quarantines, or whether the short run-up to Tests brings a little more risk of injury. We have to be very smart in managing our players, especially our bowlers.”

“If you take that into account, things get trickier than usual, but the way we’ve progressed over the last year, I think we’re on an upward trend and these will be major challenges for us.

“I am very excited that we can test ourselves against two of the best teams in the cricket world. I am confident that we can hopefully do something very special.”

Hear more from Root on the first day of the first Test between Sri Lanka and England, which will be live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 4am on Thursday. Our in-depth interview with the English captain will take place during the lunch hour from approximately 6:30 am.



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