England Test captain Joe Root revealed he has consulted the expertise of a private power hitting coach in the lead-up to Wednesday’s One-Day International against South Africa at Headingley.
Root spent Tuesday morning working alongside range-hitting specialist Julian Wood and will continue to receive tuition throughout the three-match one day series.
Wood, a former first class player at Hampshire, has worked with several players on the county cricket circuit and has previously helped other England players Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Ben Stokes.
However Root revealed Tuesday’s session was his first with the 48-year-old, who has acknowledged baseball influence towards his power striking coaching style.
Root said: “I am just trying a few things out. I want to keep developing every side of my game personally and make sure that I’m not standing still.
“It’s really important that I try and open that side of my game up. It was a good opportunity to try something different.
“Speaking to Thorpy (Graham Thorpe), it might be worth trying something completely differently. To do something away from practice, now I can concentrate on the game tomorrow.
“It was quite insightful. I got a couple of good things from it. We will see how things go in the future.
“I just wanted to see what he had to say and what he had to offer. Whether anything he said would fit nicely into how I play. We will see what comes of it in the next few weeks and moving forward, hopefully it will benefit me.”
Root has scored 3,466 runs in one-day internationals for England, averaging 48.88 from his 85 appearances.
While his strike-rate of 85.72 in 50-over matches does not represent a concern, it does fall below AB de Villiers, David Warner and Virat Kohli – the three batsmen above him in the world rankings.
Root added: “You want to make sure you’ve got as many options as you can. I don’t feel like I score too slowly. I feel like I can get on with it if I need to. But as much as possible, it’s nice to keep improving and keep giving yourself more options.”
England face South Africa off the back of two comfortable wins over Ireland at Bristol and Lord’s.
However, ranked No 1 in the one-day rankings, the Proteas represent a much trickier assignment before the Champions Trophy takes place on these shores later in June.
Wednesday’s match at Headingley is the first of three one-day internationals with Root keen to see a marker put down ahead of the first Champions Trophy group match against Bangladesh on June 1.
Root added: “Every series, every major tournament is a great opportunity.
“We have a great opportunity to do something really special this summer.
“It’s really important that we start well tomorrow.”
Yorkshire team-mate David Willey is likely to take new ball responsibilities in front of a home crowd and the all-rounder is eager to secure his place for the Champions Trophy.
Willey has taken just four wickets in five one-day internationals in 2017 – conceding 144 runs in 22 overs. And the 27-year-old took just one wicket in the two matches against Ireland earlier this month.
On his bowling, Willey, who has been in and out of Yorkshire’s line-up this season, said: “I’m not at my best but I’m just concentrating on swinging the ball and pitching it up.
“Hopefully I will take some wickets up front and get the ball rolling.
“The three games are important for everyone involved. We have a very good squad, no one is guaranteed of their place. It’s a very exciting squad to be a part of and everyone wants to nail down their spot.
“The style of cricket we are playing, there’s a hype about it and us being favourites for this competition just goes to show that. It’s definitely one of the best England squads we’ve had for some time.”
James Anderson is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after the 34-year-old seamer – England’s leading Test wicket-taker with 467 – suffered a torn groin in this week’s Roses match.
The first Test of the summer is not until July 7 at Lord’s, after the Champions Trophy, but it is not uncommon for such complaints to come with a six-week lay-off.