Sheffield Collegiate’s Billy Root - the younger brother of Yorkshire and England star Joe - has been awarded a performance contract at Nottinghamshire for the 2015 season.
Billy, a former Yorkshire Academy starlet, earned the one-year deal at Trent Bridge after a series of impressive displays for the Notts’ Second XI, including a double century against Derbyshire back in June - just days before big brother Joe hit 200 of his own, for England against Sri Lanka.
The 22-year-old left hander will combine playing with a degree course at Leeds Beckett University.
All-rounder Adam Tillcock has also been awarded a similar deal, and Notts director of cricket Mick Newell said: “These are two players who are coming of age, and who should be pushing hard for their place on the staff.
“Both have quality and now it’s up to them to prove it. We’ve monitored them closely through their summer with the second team and will be hoping for them to take a bigger step.”
Billy scored 1142 runs for Collegiate in the Yorkshire League last season, at an average of 44 and with a top score of 108*. But does he feel the pressure to keep up with his brother?
“I don’t think it makes it harder at all being Joe Root’s brother. I think it makes it easier,” Billy said. “What better source of advice and support than one of the best cricketers in the world? I’m so proud of what he’s doing it’s hard to put it into words.
“I’ve not felt like being Joe’s brother has put any pressure on me. I just try to enjoy my cricket and do well. I suppose I’m lucky that I’ve never felt any additional expectation.”
Both Root brothers came through the ranks at Sheffield Collegiate where their father, Matt, played in the same team as Michael Vaughan. Grandfather Don, too, remains involved at Abbeydale, too.
“I come from a real cricketing family going back to my dad, my granddad and before that,” Billy added.
“Our family has also been really supportive of both of us. They were always taking us to games like a taxi service. If my mum and dad were working then my granddad would take us.
“I’ve not thought that much about my future, but I do know I’ve always wanted to be a cricketer. I was down at net sessions when I was tiny and it all went from there. We were always playing as kids.
“I had a great cricketing grounding at Sheffield Collegiate. To me that’s home but of course I’d love to play for Notts’ first team.”
Joe, meanwhile, was named this week in the ICC’s Test match team of the year for 2014, alongside the likes of former Yorkshire teammate Kane Williamson, AB de Villiers and fellow England star Stuart Broad.
Root, who turns 24 next month, scored 777 runs in the seven Tests last summer against Sri Lanka and India at an average of 97.12.