I don’t fear Australia, insists upbeat Root
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.