Joe Root is eager to begin the international winter with a series of big scores as he prepares for England’s pre-Christmas tour of New Zealand.
The national side will contest a two-match Test series against the Kiwis in late November, following a run of five T20 internationals between the two outfits.
After the curtain was drawn on the English Test summer, Root has enjoyed his longest break from cricket in four years, and he feels the rare opportunity to spend time away from the game has been beneficial.
“Four years ago was the last time I had a break as long as this, and that was only because I’d broken my thumb, so it’s been invaluable to have a block of time without the pressure of a game around the corner,” said the Test skipper.
“I’ve been able to work on a few technical things, and I’ve been able to spend some time at home, which has been golden.
“I feel refreshed now and ready to go. I want to start the winter off with a bang, and set a marker in terms of making big scores and leading from the front.”
Root’s charges will be playing under Chris Silverwood for the first time in New Zealand, and the 28-year-old is positive about the former bowling coach’s elevation to the top job.
“He’s a good man who understands the culture really well,” said Root of Silverwood.
“He’s got great ideas, he’s really organised and you can see a clear direction in terms of how he wants to go forward, which is very aligned with how I think.
“He’s very different to Trevor (Bayliss, former Head Coach), but Trevor was what we needed at that time, and maybe now we need something different. I definitely think Chris will be able to add that."
Root and Silverwood will lead a much-changed national squad in New Zealand, with a number of fresh faces being added to the playing staff.
Top-order batsmen Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley have received their first international call-ups, as have the Lancashire duo of Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson, and their captain feels the tour is the ideal time to begin the process of building a side to take on Australia in 2021.
“This tour’s an opportunity to look at some new faces and for them to get a feel of what Test cricket’s about.
“We’re looking at how to win in Australia, and having certain elements of depth to the squad that could be crucial to success out there.
“The new guys are there on merit – they’ve performed well in county cricket and they’ve got a lot to offer. Hopefully they enjoy it, take their opportunity and put a marker down to stay in that squad.”
International cricket is back at Trent Bridge in 2020, with England hosting a Test against Pakistan and an ODI against Ireland.
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