CRICKET: Tykes captain Joe Root’s title-chasing challenge

Joe Root
Joe Root
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He is an Ashes winner, a seasoned England international and one of the brightest young players of his generation.

But today, Sheffield’s Joe Root begins an altogether different chapter of his blossoming young career as he prepares to captain Yorkshire in two games which will decide the destination of the 2014 County Championship.

The coveted pennant has not fluttered in the Headingley wind since their last success in 2001, when Root was just a ten-year-old making his way in the game.

But since, he has flourished into one of England’s genuine star attractions - with his refreshing attitude, angelic appearance and no shortage of natural talent.

His success on the international stage - last week’s ODI century against India was his sixth for England in 2014 alone - has limited his involvement with Yorkshire, but he will lead out the side at Trent Bridge today, in the absence of the suspended Andrew Gale, as they face Nottinghamshire, their nearest challengers for the Division One crown.

Yorkshire, 26 points clear of Notts, know a win - or a positive draw - will be enough to seal the title. And their chances are boosted by the return of Root, Tim Bresnan and Gary Ballance, who also enjoyed a successful summer on the international stage.

“To represent your country and play the whole summer of Test match cricket has been amazing,” Ballance said. “Personally, I don’t think it could have gone better.

“I feel like I’ve improved; my all-round game just feels a little bit better.

“I went into the first Test with a bit of form from the first few Championship matches, and getting a score early in the Test series helped.

“I took that confidence into the rest of the summer and I’m just really pleased that it’s gone well.”

n All four days of Yorkshire’s game at Trent Bridge will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.