Cricket: NZ tour important for Sheffielder Root

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JOE Root looks set to battle it out with fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow for the No 6 spot when England’s Test series gets underway in New Zealand at the beginning of March.

Compton nudged ahead of Root in India to open the batting in the Test series there with captain Alastair Cook but the selectors know that any loss of form and they can turn to Root to step in at the top of the order.

Root, who was 22 at the end of December, is also in the ODI squad for New Zealand and yesterday was added to the T20 squad after Danny Briggs damaged ankle ligaments yesterday. His elevation to the senior squads means he had to relinquish his role captaining the England Lions side on the trip to Australia.

A good tour to New Zealand would see Root boost his chance of a place in next Summer’s Ashes series.

The T20 series in NZ is Feb 9-15; the ODI series is Feb 17-23 and the First Test is in Dunedin on March 6.