Joe Root will relish a proud personal moment when England’s World Cup bandwagon rolls into his home territory of Headingley on Friday.
The revamped Leeds arena hosts its first game of the tournament, and the majority of spectators in the new Emerald Stand will be hoping for a repeat of Tuesday’s fireworks against Afghanistan as Root and his team-mates take on Sri Lanka.
Root was an eight-year-old Sheffield schoolboy the last time Headingley hosted a World Cup game, and the Yorkshireman said, “To have the opportunity to play a World Cup game there personally is very special.
“I’m looking forward to going up to Leeds and seeing the new stand full. It should be a great spectacle for the city and the county.”
Such is the ability of England’s 50-over batting line-up to break records seemingly at will these days, Root’s more classical contributions at the tournament have garnered few headlines – and that despite 367 runs accumulated at an average of 91.75 and a strike rate only a whisker below a run a ball.
Root scored just 43 of England’s World Cup record 189 partnership with Eoin Morgan against Afghanistan, but those runs came off just 33 deliveries, and he said, “One of the reasons Eoin scored so quickly against Afghanistan was because I gave him the strike so much.
“The reason I felt like I batted the whole innings and only ended on 88 was because I didn’t have much of the strike, which is exactly what you want in a situation like that.
“It can be hard sometimes – you look at the scoreboard and how someone is going and you think ‘I’ve got to get involved in this’ but you need to weigh it up and think what is best for the team.
“The guys you’re out there with have got to be comfortable with the way you’re playing and that it fits with the group.
“If you’re batting with someone and they’re under pressure because they feel you should be playing in a certain manner and you’re not – that’s not beneficial to the team.
“If you’re all on the same page and clear about how people will approach things, it will make life easier and you’re more likely to be consistent. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve been successful over the last couple of years because there’s a real understanding of how everyone should operate.”