Sheffield’s Joe Root admits his appointment as England’s Test vice-captain was a bolt from the blue but insists he is ready to help his country in their pivotal cricketing summer.
Yorkshire batsman Root takes over from Ian Bell as second-in-command to Alastair Cook with England preparing to take on New Zealand in a two-match Test series starting on Thursday before an Ashes showdown with Australia.
Those matches come off the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw out in the West Indies although the Yorkshire batsman himself was in good form – top-scoring with 358 runs in the three-match series.
The 24-year-old has long been touted as a future captain of his country but while he acknowledges that is a long-term ambition, he is more focused on thriving in his new role as vice-captain.
“Everyone wants to captain England in their career but for the time being, all I’ve got to worry about is helping Cooky and making his life as easy as possible if he comes to me for help,” said Root.
“That’s all I’m focusing on over the next few months and hopefully it will help us win games of cricket.
“I only found out about it the day before the announcement - I got a call from [national director of cricket] Andrew Strauss saying that was the role he wanted me to fulfil in the side and obviously I was incredibly pleased and proud to have the opportunity.
“I didn’t really expect it - it wasn’t something I necessarily thought would happen but to get this opportunity now, at this stage of my career is very nice.
“I’m really looking forward to the summer ahead now, it should be a really interesting, exciting summer.”
I only found out about it the day before the announcement - I got a call from [national director of cricket] Andrew Strauss saying that was the role he wanted me to fulfil in the side and obviously I was incredibly pleased and proud to have the opportunity.Joe Root, England Test vice-captain
While New Zealand are the current focus for England, nothing captures the public imagination quite like an Ashes series.
Root and Co. will attempt to regain the historic urn later this summer following the 5-0 drubbing they suffered Down Under 18 months ago.
And the Dore-born batsman claims there is nothing better than playing the Aussies to get the adrenaline pumping.
“I love it - that’s the pinnacle of Test cricket for me,” added Root.
“We play against some great sides, and New Zealand are one of them, but Ashes cricket has that extra bit to it.
“Everyone comes together as a nation to watch it and we’re desperate to come back from that horrible series in Australia and put in some really good performances.
“Hopefully we can win back the Ashes this time.”
n Joe Root was speaking at the filming of the LV = Broken Through video. To keep up to date with the LV= County Championship visit LV.com/cricket or follow @LV_Cricket on Twitter.