Root happy to show versatility

  • Last Updated: January 12 2013, 14:15 GMT

Joe Root did not get the chance to lay bat on ball on his one-day debut for England but still did enough to catapult his name up the list of potential all-rounders.

Joe Root: Turned arm over to good effect
Joe Root: Turned arm over to good effect

Root, 22, has been fast-tracked by England for his talents at the top of the order but enjoyed an unusual bow in the 50-over format on Friday.

Pencilled in to bat at four in the first one-day international against India in Rajkot, he was shunted down to seven as the tourists responded to a rapid start by promoting their bigger hitters.

He was not required to take the crease as England posted a formidable 325 for four but then found himself called upon to perform a crucial job with the ball.

Despite being an irregular off-spinner for Yorkshire, he was chosen ahead of Samit Patel to help James Tredwell put the brakes on a dangerous opening stand by Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane.

The experiment worked better than captain Alastair Cook could have imagined as his first spell of five overs cost jut 17 runs.

He ended up bowling nine for 51, a creditable return in a match dominated by batsmen.

Root concedes that he has not played a match as a specialist bowler for more than a decade, but has been putting in plenty of hard work to ready himself for the experience.

"That probably hasn't happened since I was 10 or 11 years old, playing my first men's cricket, but it was fantastic and I wouldn't change a thing," he said.

"I've been working hard on the bowling to give the captain as many options as possible out there.

"The aim was that if I possibly had a chance to bowl I wouldn't disappoint and be consistent as possible.

"I've been working really hard for a couple of years now and working here with Mushy (Mushtaq Ahmed, England spin coach). I need to make sure it is going to be a really big asset for me in the future and take any chances of having as many options as I can to give myself the best chance of selection."

Root has enjoyed a painless introduction to international cricket thus far.

An unexpected Test debut in Nagpur in December saw him make an assured 73 in a series-clinching draw and he then made his first Twenty20 appearance in another England win just before Christmas.

He completed a hat-trick of debuts across all three formats in Rajkot, where he was once again part of a winning side.

Root realises his experiences are not typical of the average England player in India - Friday's win was the tourists' first in ODIs since 2006 - but he is desperate for more of the same.

"It's been fantastic, that's why you play the game, to play in front of crowds like these in that sort of atmosphere," he said.

"If you can't enjoy that, you shouldn't be playing the game.

"There are a few guys out here who have been on two tours before and not won a game, so I'm really pleased for those who have put all that hard work in and finally come up with a win.

"I'm still 22 years old and I just want to play as much as possible and take the opportunity if I get it."

England touched down in Kochi on Saturday afternoon, the scene of the second ODI on Tuesday.


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