England skipper Joe Root explains why playing for Yorkshire still means so much
He is a world away from the starry-eyed, nervous youngster who walked out at Headingley to make his senior Yorkshire debut and looked like he had been playing at that level for years.
But despite the Ashes wins, the England captaincy, the fame and the fortune, returning to where it all began and dusting off that Yorkshire cap remains as serious as ever for Sheffield’s Joe Root.
“I’m a cricket tragic and love coming back to play for Yorkshire,” he said, after a handful of rare appearances for his county in preparation for this summer’s home Test series against New Zealand.
“More recently, becoming a bit more senior and not spending as much time with the squad, you get to see a change in the players and squad.
“In particular, over the past five years, the squad personnel has changed drastically at Yorkshire. There’s a lot of young players there now, and there’s a real opportunity to go and help in a small way.
“Obviously you’re not going to go in and tell people how to play the game. But if there are ways you can offer a bit of experience to those younger guys, I find that really rewarding. Hopefully they do too.
“When guys like myself come back from the international game, it’s our duty to not just help win as many games as we can through performances but also offer a bit in and around training with the wider squad to really help the game grow.
“I remember what it was like at the start of my career to have brilliant role models – Anthony McGrath to name just one – and how much that meant to me for them to spend time helping me.
“If I can offer something similar to someone else, it would be very rewarding.”
Root, speaking on BBC Test Match Special’s county cricket podcast, also revealed how strange it was bowling to brother Billy in Yorkshire’s game with Glamorgan earlier this season.
Billy got the upper hand in that game with a second-innings century – which came off his brother’s bowling.
“It was a really strange feeling,” Root senior admitted.
“Obviously I’m never going to compromise taking wickets and doing everything I can to win games for Yorkshire. But I honestly don’t know what I’d have done if I’d have hit him on the pad!
“I would have appealed, but it would have been a very strange feeling inside.”