Root and young guns keep rest on their toes

England's Joe Root

England's Joe Root

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ENGLAND limited-overs head coach Ashley Giles insists now that Joe Root has successfully grabbed his international opportunity across all three forms of the game he must not let it go.

Root made his England debut during the last match of the historic 2-1 Test series win over India and looked at ease with the occasion as he hit 73 and an unbeaten 20 in the draw. He made his Twenty20 debut during the two-match mini-series with India days later before returning to the sub-continent to complete the set in January and make his one-day bow.

The 22-year-old Sheffielder now has 14 England appearances to his name after featuring in all three forms during the tour of New Zealand with his performances in the 50-over format particularly impressive.

Root averages 81.50 from eight games and, with 19 matches in all forms this summer not including the Champions Trophy, Giles believes it is paramount that he doesn’t let up.

“We have rested and rotated players in the last few months but the guys that have come in have done well,” said Giles. “Joe’s development over the winter was great and so we added another to our arsenal and our depth which is what you need. We look on the positive side that someone like Joe has seen an opportunity and taken it. Even when you have got guys missing of the ability of someone like Kevin Pietersen, who we know is a match winner in 50-over cricket, we still have options.

“We have got to pick the side we think will win on any given day and when we pick the final squad that will be one of the issues.

“But everyone in that top order is under pressure. Not to a degree where they are thinking about being dropped but where they think they should be performing.”

Root’s one-day appearances in India at the end of last year came with Jonathan Trott rested while his 50-over outings in New Zealand were after Kevin Pietersen was afforded the same situation.

However, such were his performances on the two winter tours, England coach Giles admits deciding who will and won’t play out of three this summer isn’t as simple as it may seem.

“We have flexibility there which is good with the likes of Root, Pietersen and Trott - nobody is bomb-proof,” he added.

“The game is changing all the time, but what I want from anyone is for them to go and play with a freedom. There is always a fear when you play but I don’t want them to be scared of how they play.

n See the best eight teams in one-day cricket in the ICC Champions Trophy from 6-23 June at The Oval, Cardiff and Edgbaston – tickets are available now at icc-cricket.com or call 0844 249 2013

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