Root became an overnight hero after his stellar innings against India
England Test coach Andy Flower has warned the cricketing community not to over-hype the early success of Joe Root after there were increasing calls for the 22-year-old to start opening alongside captain Alastair Cook in Test matches and also mounting speculation over which member of the batting line-up he will replace for the upcoming Champions Trophy in June.
With the new split coaching role having come into effect, limited overs coach Ashley Giles has been treated to some Root specials against India and New Zealand, while Flower, who was not in attendance to watch some of those brilliant innings, only had the pleasure of watching Root’s debut Test against India last year, where he scored an outstanding 73 from 229 deliveries to help England draw the final Test at Nagpur and beat the Indians on their home soil for the first time in 28 years.
However, Root did not do as well in the three-Test series against New Zealand, as he could only muster a top score of 45 and failed to make any real contributions in all of his other innings.
Despite all this, Root has already been branded as a future England captain, but Flower warned the public against getting too caught up in the fervour.
“I think everyone should keep a little calm about his prospects,” Flower said. “No one knows exactly how he’s going to do, not Joe and none of us.
“But he has handled himself very well in the international competition and the opportunities he’s been given so far. We look forward to him having a very successful career, but he’s got to take it one step at a time – as do all of us.”
Root’s sudden emergence has already put opening batsman Nick Compton under a lot of pressure, but Flower defended the Somerset batsman, stating that he did an incredible job against India during the Test series last year.
“I thought Nick played really well in India,” Flower said. “He had some tricky situations to deal with there – some extreme subcontinent conditions, obviously the pressure of playing in India for the first time. I thought he did extremely well out there, without getting the huge score. He put on some really valuable partnerships with Cook.
“He missed out in this game, having spent a bit of time there in the first innings when the ball was darting around. He’s a good player.”
Flower is also “pleased” to have pace bowler Stuart Broad back in the Test side after he was sidelined for nearly five months due to a heel injury he sustained in India.
“I’m very pleased,” Flower said. “His heel is obviously a worry to him and to us. But it reacted well to the number of overs he bowled, and he came through it well.”
While spinner Graeme Swann and pace bowler Tim Bresnan have already broken down due to the increased workload, Flower still remained confident that the rest of the team would remain fully fit and be available for the Champions Trophy and back-to-back Ashes series which gets underway in July.
“Inevitably, there are niggles – the stresses and strains that are put on their bodies mean there always are,” Flower said. “But at the moment everyone is fine.”
Even though the injuries to Swann and Bresnan have slightly dented England’s bowling department, Flower stated that the team had more than enough reserve bowlers to take over in any situation.
“We’ve got some very fine international bowlers,” Flower added. “That’s why we’ve had a lot of success recently. We’re always conscious of the contingency plans in case some of our star bowlers get injured – and because of the nature of the job they do, they are going to get injured. I am confident that, if we do have injuries, we will have bowlers who can create pressure and chances.”