IT would be understandable for frustration to have got the better of Yorkshire’s Joe Root during the course of a difficult winter – not just in terms of the England Test team’s results, but also his own form with the bat.
Despite finishing as his side’s top run scorer across five gruelling encounters Down Under – as well as topping the averages for the tourists – England captain Root was still left nursing a feeling of what should have been when it came to his own personal performances.
His mood out in the middle will not have improved too much, either, after the subsequent two-match Test series in New Zealand, where a 1-0 series’ defeat was coupled with a below-par performance with the bat – for him, at least – the 27-year-old averaging 35.50.
In 13 Test match innings while away on tour, Root scored six half-centuries – for most batsmen a return that would quite rightly be regarded as a positive. But for Root, as England captain, his failure to convert a couple of those innings into really big scores, was something that rankles, both then and, now when back home in Yorkshire a few weeks later.
This summer brings Pakistan and India to these shores in terms of Test match cricket – the former playing the second of a two-match series at Root’s home ground of Headingley from June 1-5.
Root will warm up for the preceding Lord’s Test by joining England team-mate Jonny Bairstow in being given an all-too-rare opportunity to play for Yorkshire in two County Championship matches.
I know if I go and do my stuff and I prepare the best I can I will give myself the best chance to make some big scores.Joe Root
The first of those appearances comes tomorrow at Chelmsford against defending champions Essex and although there will be a weight of expectation on his shoulders – something that comes naturally given his position as Test captain – Root will be putting no pressure on himself once out in the middle.
“It’s frustrating when you are not getting the results you want batting,” said Root. “I felt pretty consistent throughout the winter, but not managing to convert and make a big hundred and help get us into a position where we can win a game ... from a personal point of view, that’s very disappointing for me.
“But it’s a great driver to go on and try and do that – especially in these two games for Yorkshire which will also help me going into the first Test against Pakistan.
“But the only thing I’m interested in from these two games is Yorkshire winning. I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself regarding scoring runs.
“I know if I go and do my stuff and I prepare the best I can I will give myself the best chance to make some big scores.
“But, ultimately, it is about Yorkshire winning and me just trying to play as big a part in that as I can.
After four days in Chelmsford, Root will return briefly to Yorkshire before heading south once again to The Oval, where Andrew Gale’s team will take on Surrey.
It’s been a mixed bag of results so far for the White Rose, with a washed out first match at Headingley against Essex being followed by a win at home to Nottinghamshire before a heavy defeat earlier this week at Taunton against Somerset.
“It’s always an absolute pleasure to come back and play for Yorkshire. I feel that when I come back in the dressing room, I fit in really well.
“It’s a great team to be involved with.”