England v Pakistan: Joe Root to bat at three to ‘take on a bit more responsibility’

Joe Root
Root has played two matches for Yorkshire this season with a top score of 35
England v Pakistan, first Test
Date: 24-28 May Time: 11:00 BST Venue: Lord’s
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full tour details

England captain Joe Root is ready to “take on a bit more responsibility” by batting at number three in the Test series against Pakistan.

Root has been number four in all but one of his side’s matches since August 2017, but is set to move up a spot in the first Test starting on Thursday.

Root has resisted calls to move up the order in the past but now says he is “comfortable” stepping up.

England v Pakistan: Joe Root to bat at three to ‘take on a bit more responsibility’
England v Pakistan: Joe Root to bat at three to ‘take on a bit more responsibility’

“I will look to have hunger and desire to make really big runs,” he said.

England endured a disappointing winter with a number of their top order, including their all-time leading run scorer Alastair Cook struggling for runs.

James Vince batted at number three in six of England’s seven games against Australia and New Zealand during their winless winter but has been dropped from the squad to play at Lord’s in the first of two Tests against Pakistan, with Root taking his position in the order.

The England captain has batted at number three 17 times in Test cricket – averaging 43.96 with two centuries – but dropped to four when taking over the captaincy from Cook.

Root has reached a half-century 12 times since but has only gone on to two score two hundreds in that period.

“It’s an opportunity for me to take on a bit more responsibility,” he said in an interview with the International Cricket Council website.

“I’ve had a year in the captaincy now and I feel I’ve gained enough experience to feel comfortable doing that.

“For me it was about getting used to the captaincy and making sure I could separate the two; that my full focus was on my batting when it came around.

“Ultimately, nothing will change the way I go about my batting.”

New national selector Ed Smith has made a number of changes in what is his first squad in the role with Jos Buttler, who last played Test cricket in 2016, likely to bat at number seven.

Buttler was dropped after averaging 31.36 in Test cricket but has hit five consecutive fifties in the Indian Premier League.

“It is really important Jos does not put too much pressure on himself,” said Root.

“It is about expressing himself and finding consistency. It might take a bit of time to come right.

“If he bats for any period of time, especially the way he’s played recently, it’s going to be very exciting.”

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