Test Match Sofa
Root still aiming for gold standard
By Graham Hardcastle
As the nation was gripped by Olympic fever on Saturday night as Jessica Ennis claimed one of three gold medals for Team GB in the space of an hour, Yorkshire batsman Joe Root finally twigged why he missed out as an 11-year-old in a School Sports Personality competition.
Root and Ennis both went to King Ecgbert's School in Sheffield, with the batsman in his first year when the athlete was in her last. While Ennis, now 26, has reached the pinnacle of her career, Root, 23, hasn’t. But with many talking him up as the next cab off the rank in terms of an England Test opener, the affable right-hander is definitely on the right track.
He may have only scored six in the first innings of the ongoing England Lions four-day match against Australia A at Old Trafford, which is in its third day today, but he is Yorkshire’s leading run-scorer in the LV= County Championship with 644 runs from 11 matches.
Root has scored two hundreds, including a brilliant career-best 222 not out against Hampshire in tough conditions for batting at Southampton last month. He will also find out in the next 10 days whether he has made the final 15-man squad for England’s World Twenty20 campaign in Sri Lanka next month having been named on the preliminary list of 30.
“The first time I came across Jessica was when we had a School Sports Personality event,” he explained. “I was only 11, but I was nominated and so was Jessica. She won it, and I thought ‘how have I Iost to someone who does athletics?’
“I was a bit gutted about it, and then a couple of years later you saw her in the World Championships and Commonwealth Games - and now she's winning a gold medal in the Olympics. You look back and think ‘probably you can sit down and shut up Joe because it's a hell of an achievement for her’.”
Despite moving closer to full England honours with a string of impressive performances during the best season of his career so far, the former England Under-19s man is refusing to get too carried away.
He added: “I don't really think about it too much. I just try to stay in the moment. You can only face what's right in front of you. If you've got someone steaming in and bowling at 90mph, you don't want to be thinking about too much else.
“I just try to keep my mind fresh and stay nice and relaxed. I can only control what's happening right now, and the only way for things to happen further down the line is if I do well. I just try to do well as often as possible, whether for Yorkshire or whoever.”
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