IND vs ENG: Joe Root ready for “Mini-Battle” with Ravichandran Ashwin

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His light frame in the formative cricket years forced Joe Root to hone his skills in playing the sweep shot against spinners, something he could use in the “mini-battle” with Ravichandran Ashwin in the four-Test series against India starting on Friday. After former English skipper Graham Gooch, who was one of the best exponents of the sweep shot against Asian spinners, current skipper Root – with scores of 228 and 186 in Sri Lanka – has shown his mastery on low and slow tracks. On the eve of the opening test against India, Root told the story of how he developed the difficult recording that his contemporaries like Virat Kohli or Steve Smith hardly play.

“For me as a young lad I was always very small. So it took me a long time to grow and develop physically. I had to find a way to get the ball off the square against spinners in particular, because there is no pace to work with , ”Root answered a question from PTI during a virtual media conference.

“And sweep was a shot where I could generate the maximum power.”

“So learning to play that well was pretty much a scoring opportunity for much of my junior career. Since then I have tried to broaden my game and have worked with some brilliant players and brilliant coaches,” added the England captain. to. , which has scored more than 8,000 test runs.

Root said that on the recent tour of Sri Lanka, sweep was the low risk option, taking the field into account while fighting what their spinners had to offer.

So how will he deal with Ashwin?

“I will not try to dominate or defend, but just try to play the ball that is delivered. If I stay awhile, I will score some big runs. He has a great record in India and is probably full of confidence for that. that series. “

“… you know, I’ve played against him before and scored some points and he overcame me a few times and it will be a little fight between the test match. The match you want is going to be better,” he said .

Root explained that risk assessment is the key to playing the sweepshot.

“For me, it’s about understanding playing on the line or length and understanding the surface, whether the bounce becomes a problem or the sideways motion or the turn, and trying to factor in all those factors and the risks. of a stroke. “

As a teenager who made his mark in club cricket, one of the biggest wins for him was to stand on a gymnast against a Test level spinner like former Pakistani slow bowler Nadeem Khan (older brother of Moeen Khan).

“Actually (the track on) my club grounds (in Yorkshire) for an English ground it turned quite a bit, and we had a great foreign pro playing Test Cricket for Pakistan, Nadeem Khan.”

“I have been able to practice against him from the time I was 12-13 years old. It was good education to develop that side of the game and that side of the batter,” he said.

There was an obvious question about Big Four and Root, a self-proclaimed cricket fan said he keeps track of what Kohli, Smith and Williamson are doing to learn and improve.

“It is clear that they are three leading players in the world and I am trying to learn from them. It is silly not to learn how to handle their innings, control passages in the game, manage their own game and constantly evolve.”

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It is their different styles that make them different from each other.

“There is no one right way to hit or bowl. Everyone can figure it out for themselves. Individual fights are not something I would look at. What I would look at is always trying to win this series,” said the skipper.

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