Joe Root’s remarkable emergence at international level has put him bang on course to be part of England’s bid for back-to-back Ashes in the next 12 months.
There are plenty willing to even predict it will be the Sheffielder, rather than incumbent Nick Compton, who walks out to open the batting with captain Alastair Cook in the first Test against Australia at Trent Bridge in July.
The 22-year-old Yorkshire star insists he has no specific designs on that role, intent merely on stating his case for Test inclusion in New Zealand and at home next summer.
He can start by augmenting his run of form since making his Test debut at Nagpur in December, if selected for England’s four-day warm-up match against a New Zealand XI in Queenstown starting today.
Root lost out to Compton in their tour-match duels in India for the right to replace retired captain Andrew Strauss alongside his successor Cook.
There is room for both aspirants in the first of three Tests against New Zealand in Dunedin next week, with Root in the number six position he filled so successfully to help England draw the final match in India and complete a historic series victory.
Root has since consolidated impressively, and demonstrated his versatility, with a string of significant one-day international contributions in the middle order, where he has yet to be dismissed under 30 after seven innings.
He said: “Everything’s happened really quickly for me. If you’d told me this would all happen this time last year, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“To contribute in the limited-overs is really pleasing, and I hope if I get a chance I can do the same in the Testsl.
“It’s been fantastic to represent England and I’ve loved every minute of it.”