Joe Root says how England team found motivation in defeat
The only England batsman to have scored a century in every Ashes Test till date, this season, Joe Root, feels that the pain of defeat is what inspired the England team to succeed int the Investec Ashes series.
The right-hand batsman was in the squad that was whitewashed 5-0 in Australia about a year and a half ago, and had lost his spot in the side by the end of the series. Although, he is currently rated as the No.1 batsman in Test cricket, he hasn't forgotten the discontentment of that particular tour. He stated that it was the pain and memories of that tournament that has driven him and other members of his team to reach this stage and be victorious over Australia.
"Personally, that was the inspiration," Root stated as he expressed his opinion on victory at Trent Bridge. "You want to make sure you're not in that position again. It was a tough tour. That's something that has always been in the back of my mind. So when you get into a position of strength, you want to make sure you drive it home. It's definitely one of the reasons why this is so enjoyable."
Great responsibility on young shoulders
Root had been included in the squad with great hopes and greater responsibilities. In the summer of 2013, England won the series 3-0, Root had contributed little with just one century at Lord's after he was dropped twice and did not impress much as an openning batsman. He started batting at No.6 but was later promoted to No.3 after Jonathan Trott had gone home after the first Test in Brisbane.
He continued to maintain an average of 27.42 in the first four Tests, after which he was replaced by Gary Ballance for the final Test in Sydney. However, Root returned to the England dressing room for the first Test next summer and earned back his spot after scoring a blistering double-century against Sri Lanka.
"Knowing what we went through there - all that hurt and pain - that was one of the things that drove us forward," Root said. "You know what it's like to be on the wrong side of things, so if you're doing well, you want to make sure you drive it home."
Root returned stronger than ever
Root learnt from his mistakes and rediscovered himself as a better and stronger player altogether. He focused on his strengths and worked on his natural talent.
"I did make a few changes after Australia," he stated. "But the main thing I did was stick to my strengths. I made sure that I worked on all the shots I thought were my bread and butter and I made them as good as they could possibly be. Rather than try to have the perfect game, I was going to make sure that, if balls came into areas where I felt comfortable scoring, I was going to make sure I made it count."
Root as captain
There was also a conjecture that Root might be the next captain to lead England. This, however, seems unlikely now that Alastair Cook has gained good form with the bat and has also displayed some brilliant captaincy.
"As far as captaincy is concerned, Cooky has done exceptionally well," Root said. "He's just won the Ashes for the second time in three attempts, so hopefully he'll be in charge of us for a long time. He's doing a fantastic job leading this group of players. There have been times when we haven't backed him up as we should have done on the pitch, but thankfully this series we have. And hopefully that will continue going forwards.”
Root's focus on further improving
The 24-year-old is happy with the way he is playing but is well aware of his flaws as a player and is keen to work on them.
"I'm happy with my game. But it is nowhere near perfect. I have a lot of things I want to work on. You have personal goals. And of course, to be rated No. 1 batsman in the world is nice. But it is nowhere near the front of my mind. It's about having days like this and being part of something as special as this with this group of players. We all thoroughly enjoy seeing each other doing well. You don't get a better feeling than this”, he said.
Root on Ballance
Root also appreciated Ballance's effort in the Cardiff Test and believes that he played a vital role in England’s recovery in the Test by maintaing a partnership of 153 runs along with Root.
"Knowing what we went through there - all that hurt and pain - that was one of the things that drove us forward," he said. "You know what it's like to be on the wrong side of things, so if you're doing well, you want to make sure you drive it home."