I don’t fear Aus­tralia, in­sists up­beat Root

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Cricket - By Scyld Berry CRICKET COR­RE­SPON­DENT in Townsville Straight bat: Joe Root says he will not let Aus­tralian hype af­fect the way he plays

Joe Root did not de­fend or duck when the war of words es­ca­lated a week be­fore the Ashes, with the Aus­tralian fast bowler Pat Cum­mins say­ing he wanted to scare Eng­land like Mitchell John­son had in the last Ashes se­ries.

“I would love to be that bowler, along with Starcy [Mitchell Starc], who can run in and bowl in short spells flat out as fast as we can,” Cum­mins said.

Root coun­tered the Cum­mins com­ment, say­ing: “Fear is not the right word, re­spect prob­a­bly is. They have a lot of qual­ity in their at­tack, but we have lots of qual­ity in our side, too. These are the sorts of state­ments you ex­pect fly­ing around a week or two out from the first Test of an Ashes se­ries.”

Root even played a hook shot in a BBC in­ter­view, when he called the op­po­si­tion hype “a load of rub­bish”. Eng­land’s cap­tain con­ceded, how­ever, that in the 2013-14 se­ries he was sur­prised by Aus­tralia’s hos­til­ity in all its forms.

“I think me per­son­ally, I wasn’t [ready]. Ev­ery­thing seemed to hap­pen quite quickly. I think one thing for me [this time] will be mak­ing sure the game is played at my pace, try­ing to be calm out in the mid­dle.

“It’s al­most against all the odds, isn’t it? You’re in their back­yard – every­one in the ground seems to think they’re play­ing for Aus­tralia, and they’ll do ev­ery­thing they can to help their side. You have got the op­por­tu­nity to up­set that, go and do some­thing re­ally special. Ashes se­ries, a lot of his­tory – you want to be a part of that.”

As for the Aus­tralian talk about tar­get­ing Root, he replied: “You go into ev­ery se­ries ex­pect­ing you’re go­ing to get tar­geted, as a bat­ter. I think it’s some­thing they use as a tool some­times, to try to get the crowd and the pub­lic be­hind it… try to get on my back ver­bally. If they’re wast­ing en­ergy try­ing harder at me, then I hope that works well for the rest of the guys.”

Root praised his ju­nior play­ers for the way they had per­formed in the first two warm-up games. “They’ve done ex­tremely well,” he said. “They’ve not looked in­tim­i­dated in any way. They have just thrown them­selves into it all, and that’s the ap­proach I think you need to have go­ing into any big se­ries.”

Eng­land started their fi­nal warmup last night, a four-day game against the Cricket Aus­tralia XI.

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