Billy Root relishing reunion with brother Joe as Yorkshire prepare to face Glamorgan at Headingley

Sheffield brothers Joe and Billy Root will go head-to-head for the first time in first-class cricket tomorrow when Yorkshire kick-off their County Championship season against Glamorgan at Headingley.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 2:43 pm
Billy Root and older brother Joe, pictured together back in 2013: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The brothers have played hundreds of games alongside each other for Sheffield Collegiate, and even lined up in an England Test match together when Billy was on Middlesex’s ground staff and came on as 12th man. They faced off in a one-day game in 2017, when Billy was at Nottinghamshire.

“Playing against him will bring back memories of the days in the garden when we used to play against each other, as brothers do. Being the youngest one, I always ended up bowling,” Billy said.

“It was his bat, his ball. If I ever was allowed to get a chance to bat, we were probably finished for the day by then.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I'm not going to chirp him this week on the field unless he comes at me with something funny first, and then I'll have to get him back. It'll all be in good spirits.

“It will be both of us doing what we can to win the game. I'm sure it'll be nothing short of very professional! There'll be the odd joke here and there, but it'll be light-hearted and in good spirits.”

Tomorrow’s opening game will also be a return to Billy’s own stomping ground. He was on Yorkshire’s books for a time before being released and working his way back up, via spells at numerous county second XIs and starting a degree at Leeds Metropolitan University.

“I'm sure it'll all feel very familiar once I get back there,” the younger Root added.

Billy Root is a former Yorkshire player (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

“I think we're actually changing in one of the lecture theatres that I would've been in while I was at university there, so it's funny how things work out.”

Yorkshire will be without Gary Ballance, who suffered concussion after what the Tykes described as a “freak accident in training” while Jordan Thompson is also out, while Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan are away on Indian Premier League duty.

“It will be an interesting battle, that’s for sure,” Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon said of the Root-v-Root derby.

“But I obviously hope Joe comes out on top. There’s no doubt Billy is a talented player who has done well recently, particularly at Glamorgan. And we will need to get him out early because he can do some damage if not.

A three-year-old Billy plays cricket in his garden with his older brother, Joe (Picture: The Root family)

“Players develop at different stages and mature on different timescales. Billy has always had natural talent, but making it at this level and higher is about more than just that. It’s the mental side of the game, making good decisions, having that balance between attack and defence.

“That comes with maturity and playing games, and he seems to have worked all of that out now and has gone on to post some big scores of late.

“I just hope he doesn’t do it this week!”

With games still being played behind-closed-doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, Yorkshire are streaming the game against Glamorgan (11am start) on their website, accompanied by BBC radio commentary.