England’s Joe Root, even in his relatively short career till date, has impressed enough to be considered as one of the finest batsmen of his generation and is already being counted as a future great. With England struggling to find a long-term solution to the No 3 slot in Test cricket, Root is ready to step up and take on the responsibility of what is easily one of the toughest roles in the longest format of the game.
Nick Crompton, who played at the No 3 spot, in England’s two previous series outings against South Africa away and later at home against Sri Lanka struggled to cope up with the demands of the role and has decided to take a short break from the game to sort himself out.
While Gary Ballance, who also failed to impress against Australia in the 2015 Ashes series thus leading to his exit from the Test squad, has earned a recall for the upcoming series against Pakistan, England skipper Alastair Cook wants Root to play at No 3 – something the young Englishman was only happy to oblige.
Speaking ahead of the first Test which begins at Lord’s on Thursday, Root said that he is more than ready to accept the challenge thrown down by the team management and hinted that it was a role he was always interested in.
"We had a few discussions throughout the season that it could be a possibility moving forward," Root told a Lord's news conference on Tuesday. "I think the fact I had quite a long time to think about it and to chat it over with the selectors and Trevor and Cooky, it probably made it a bit easier, rather than being thrown into the role."
Root, who has scored nearly 3,500 runs in his 42 Tests at an average of over 52 with nine centuries, mainly batting at the No 4 and No 5 spots for England, is confident that he can continue scoring big despite a change in his batting position.
"The way they've dealt with it has been really good and it's given me time to get my head around it,” he said. "I feel pretty comfortable going into the series and it's now just about trying to make sure that moving forward that's something I feel comfortable with and I can keep making big scores and contributing to winning Test matches."
Root also denied suggestions that his promotion could weaken the English middle order saying that the likes of Jonny Bairstow and James Vince would not make his absence felt lower down the order,
"I think that's probably harsh," said Root. “Someone like Jonny Bairstow would consider himself a middle-order batsman and he's taken his game to another level. Guys like James Vince, who will really be looking forward to getting back out playing red-ball cricket again. He's got a little bit of experience under his belt and will gain confidence from that."