Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England Test captain Joe Root has returned to the No. 3 spot on the batting line-up, attributing his decision to the fact that he has to take more responsibility.
Root has often expressed his preferral to bat at No. 4, but given England’s disastrous winter, where they lost five out of the seven Tests they played against Australia and New Zealand, the 27-year-old acknowledged that changes to the batting order have to be made.
Root averages 43.96 batting at No. 3, while his average at No. 4 stands at 52.63. However, his career-best Test score of 254 came at the No. 3 position against Pakistan in 2016.
“I think it’s an opportunity for me to take on a bit more responsibility at the top of the order,” Root said. “I’ve had a year in the captaincy now and I feel I’ve gained enough experience to feel comfortable doing that.”
Meanwhile, with England’s summer at home approaching, Root will be expected to convert his half-centuries into triple-figure scores. This is something he has struggled to do since taking over as Test captain as in that period, he has only converted two of his 14 fifties into hundreds.
“For me it was getting used to the role of captain and making sure I could separate the two and make sure my full focus was on my batting when it came around,” he said. “I feel that I’m able to do that now and will go out to try to set the tone and score as many runs as I can from that position.
“I did it [No. 3] for one game in New Zealand and it didn’t work out there but this is a great opportunity to do it at home and it’s a great opportunity moving forward so I’m really excited. Ultimately nothing will change about the way I go about my batting. I will look to have that hunger and desire to make really big runs.”
With Root moving up the order, it will also signal a promotion for wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow, who will now come in at No. 5.
Root attributed to the decision to the fact that Bairstow has become one of England’s most consistent players with the bat.
“It’s an opportunity to get Jonny batting at five or six and on the back of this winter he’s proven he’s a consistent performer and deserves an opportunity to do it at the top of the order as well as the back end of an innings,” Root said. “I think it gives us a real opportunity to put a lot of pressure on sides especially if we’re in a position of strength and can get our best batters of the last couple of years in the top six.”