Danny Hall: Joe Root, the boy born with a bat in his hand, has the world at his feet after being named England skipper

Joe Root was on Englands radar from a young age
Joe Root was on Englands radar from a young age
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He was the cricket-mad schoolboy who dared to dream of a career in the game and yesterday, as he faced the media for the first time as the captain of England, all those dreams and more came true.

Fitting, then, that Joe Root should be officially crowned at Headingley, the home of Yorkshire and the place where he took his formative steps on a remarkable journey that would take him to the very top.

Sheffield's Joe Root

Sheffield's Joe Root

It was a coronation that seemed almost inevitable to those closest to this mercurial 26-year-old ever since he walked through the doors of Headingley, as a wide-eyed 13-year-old.

He impressed Kevin Sharp, the former Yorkshire coach, with both talent and temperament and the same day, Sharp told a colleague that Root would one day open the batting for Yorkshire.

He was right. And then some.

Early comparisons were made with Michael Vaughan, a fellow graduate of Sheffield Collegiate’s CC remarkable system, and many believe they will be similar captains: proactive, aggressive, successful.

An ever fresher-faced Joe Root at Yorkshire County Cricket Club Academy Team photo call in 2006.

(Picture..Simon Wilkinson/SWPIx.com)

An ever fresher-faced Joe Root at Yorkshire County Cricket Club Academy Team photo call in 2006. (Picture..Simon Wilkinson/SWPIx.com)

Everyone, it seems, apart from Vaughan himself, who admitted in his Daily Telegraph column: “To be honest I think he will be different to me. He is more likely to become like Virat Kohli and move his batting on to another level with the responsibility of captaincy.

“Whacking his bat, effing and blinding when dismissed might have to go because Joe will have to understand the captain has a camera on him all the time.

“But you do not want to take the passion and emotion out of someone. It worked for Nasser Hussain. Kohli is very in your face and does not hide out in the middle. I do not mind that at all.

“One area he can improve is scoring hundreds. He does not score enough of them and the captaincy might sharpen his focus to see the job through.”

Pete McKee's take on Root's captaincy

Pete McKee's take on Root's captaincy

A formidable thought for England’s opponents, especially with a winter Ashes battle against Australia - in Australia - looming in the winter. Root succeeds Alastair Cook with a Test average of 53, and no-one on the planet has scored more five-day runs since his debut in 2012.

That game, a historic, series-clinching draw against India, saw Root grind out a composed 73 from a remarkable 229 balls and he has passed every major test since, going on to win two Ashes series and reach the top of the world batting rankings.

But this is different. As Vaughan admits, the captaincy brings its own, added pressures and only a crystal ball would be able to predict how Root deals with it. Yes, he has limited captaincy experience and was nicknamed ‘Craptain’ after one game leading Yorkshire ended in a record defeat.

That might not be such a bad thing. With more international cricket than ever played in the modern era, England captains rarely, if ever, get the chance to lead their counties and many - like Cook and Vaughan before him - learn on the job.

Just like fatherhood. Root is a dad now - his fiance Carrie gave birth to baby Alfred last month - and the captaincy timing seems almost prophetic, as Sheffield’s golden boy finally drops the first letter of the ‘FEC’ moniker he picked up before he’d even reached his teens.

Somehow, the ‘Future England Captain’ tag never fazed Root - it wasn’t until he reached his mid-to-late teens that a career in cricket really seemed a possibility for him - and it makes his ascension since all the more remarkable, given the pressure such expectation would place upon any ordinary shoulders.

Root had a cardboard cricket bat in his hands just a few days after he was born, and a childhood picture shows him walking around the family home - sporting a fetching red, green, blue and yellow number, dummy in mouth - hitting a ball.

Nick Gaywood, who shares the distinction of putting on a century partnership for Collegiate with Joe, brother Billy and dad Matt, remembers: “Joe loved the game when he was younger and as he got older, he wanted to bat and bat. I remember him scoring runs for Yorkshire age group teams, coming back to the club and getting people to bowl to him until it was dark.

“Joe is so grounded and the Roots are a magic family. He still comes back to the club whenever he can and actually ran the drinks in one game last summer!”

Humble he may be, but the boy born with a bat in his hand has the world at his feet.