Sheffield’s Joe Root has dismissed Pakistan’s bid to unsettle his move up England’s order to number three as “trash talk”.
Paceman Wahab Riaz this week insisted Pakistan have “worked out what he lacks”, claiming the tourists have the Root’s measure ahead of the four-Test series.
Mohammad Amir will make a highly-scrutinised return to the Test arena in the series opener at Lord’s on Thursday, at the ground where he was caught up in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal. Root called on England to shelve thoughts of Amir’s five-year ban and subsequent return to the sport, then brushed off Wahab’s pre-series barbs.
“I heard about that; it’s the same before every series, you generally get a bit of trash talk,” said Root, of Wahab’s comments.
“It’s getting a bit like boxing now. It’s all about what happens on Thursday and throughout the rest of the series, so we will have to wait and see how things develop and see if the plans work. He is a fantastic bowler. Good pace, gets the ball to reverse swing, so it will be interesting to see how that goes throughout the series.”
Root insists he is mentally prepared for his shift up England’s order from four to three, hailing coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Alastair Cook for handing him early warning of the move.
“We had a few discussions throughout the season that it could be a possibility moving forward,” said Root of talks with England’s management about moving to number three.
“I think the fact I had quite a long time to think about it and to chat it over with the selectors and Trevor and Cooky it probably made it a bit easier, rather than being thrown into the role.
“The way they’ve dealt with it has been really good and it’s given me time to get my head around it. I feel pretty comfortable going into the series and it’s now just about trying to make sure that moving forward that’s something I feel comfortable with and I can keep making big scores and contributing to winning Test matches.”
“Every batsman has a strong point and a weak point and obviously you have to work hard on that,” said Wahab, insistent Pakistan can unsettle Root.
“You want to keep the pressure on him so that he will continue to make mistakes. Obviously Joe Root is a very good and experienced batsman.
“He is the backbone of the England team and getting him out early will put the pressure on England.