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Yorkshire's Joe Root ready to replace Andrew Strauss in England opening role
10:59am Thursday 30th August 2012 in Sport
Joe Root is ready to replace Andrew Strauss as Alastair Cook’s opening partner in Test cricket, according to Yorkshire’s first-team coach Jason Gillespie.
Strauss announced his retirement from all forms of cricket yesterday to leave a gap at the top of the order ahead their seven Tests this winter in India and New Zealand, starting in November.
England’s selectors have a number of options, the most viable being Michael Carberry, Jonathan Trott to move up the order from number three or Yorkshire and England Lions star Root.
Capped by Yorkshire before Tuesday’s first day of the ongoing County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Scarborough, Root, aged 21, is his county’s leading run-scorer with 668, including a career-best 222 not out against Hampshire at Southampton.
“I’ve absolutely no doubt he’s ready,” said Gillespie during yesterday’s washed out day two at Scarborough.
“The kid can play. It’s whether the selectors feel he needs a bit more grounding in first-class cricket. That’s up to the selectors to decide, but he’s a very good prospect.
“There’s a lot to like about Joe. He’s desperate to be successful and he leaves no stone unturned in his quest to be the best cricketer he can be. I think he’s a fantastic team player.
“You’ve seen this year in different forms of the game that he changes his style to suit the situation. He puts the needs of the team above his own.
“I think those kinds of things get noticed – they certainly do with me, his coach at Yorkshire.
“I certainly don’t want to be biased because there’s a lot of wonderful players around, but this is potentially a really good opportunity.”
Strauss has handed over the captaincy reins to Cook on the back of 100 Tests and 50 as captain after a difficult summer, which included a series defeat against South Africa and the Kevin Pietersen saga.
“Straussy didn’t say that (Pietersen) affected his decision,” said Gillespie.
“I think it was just another unnecessary add-on. Andrew Strauss is a pretty straight talking man – he’s very open and honest.
“I suspect he’s probably had this in his mind for a couple of months. I don’t think it’s come to a head in the last couple of days.
“I suspect Straussy had that moment of clarity and said ‘you know what, that’s me’.
“I can recall mine, the moment where I knew I’d had enough.
“I was in the middle of a spell for South Australia against Victoria. I was down at fine-leg and my mind drifted to that night.
“I was thinking about where I was going to go for a meal and a beer.
“I had a moment of absolute clarity and said ‘I’m not even thinking about bowling and I’m in the middle of a spell for my team’.
“Coupled with that, I’d had a couple of conversations about joining the Twenty20 Indian Cricket League, so it was a moment of clarity that said I’m done’.
“I finished that game with a clear mind having discussed it with my wife. I also had a nice meal and a couple of beers that night I was talking about.”
Meanwhile, Yorkshire’s Twenty20 overseas batsman David Miller is meeting with his South African franchise, the Dolphins, today to persuade them to allow him to represent the White Rose county in October’s Champions League.