He watched proudly on as his older brother became a key England player, and the best batsman in the world.
But now, Sheffield Collegiate’s Billy Root is out to make a name for himself - and made a reasonable start, too, with a confident 37 on his County Championship debut for Nottinghamshire on Tuesday at Trent Bridge.
With the Division One trophy sealed - again - by Yorkshire, who have now won more points than any other team, from either division, in two-tier Championship history, it is easy to dismiss most final-round games as dead-rubbers.
Not Notts’ home clash with Hampshire. The hosts are keen to seal second place; Hampshire are battling for their lives.
And the younger Root brother took his first, far-from-tentative steps in professional cricket.
“It’s a great honour to be named in the squad. Of course there’s a bit of nerves and a lot of excitement,” he said, before his debut was confirmed.
“It’s nice to know that the staff have that faith in me to put me in the squad and it’ll be good to see how these players go about their business as well.
“Hopefully this’ll be the start of another stepping stone on to bigger and better things again.”
He has earned this, too, having played second-team cricket for four English counties and enjoying a record-breaking summer with Collegiate and Leeds/Bradford MCCU.
He hit a remarkable 218 not out against Doncaster Town in the Yorkshire League, and become the first player ever to score 1,000 runs for an MCC University side.
“Joe and Billy would play for hours, wherever there was somewhere large enough to swing a bat,” their father, Matt, remembers fondly.
“Practice would begin in the living room with a ping pong ball, first thing in the morning before school. In the school holidays this would continue in the garden with a tennis ball until someone drove them to Abbeydale, where they’d play some more.
“They can both be very proud of what they have achieved in the game so far... I certainly am.”