Joe Root firm on England approach to Australia 'targeting' in Ashes
By James Dale
Last Updated: 14/11/17 12:11pm
Joe Root has welcomed Australia's plan to "target" him and says England will not be singling any specific players out.
Earlier this year Australia's Nathan Lyon revealed his side had planned to remove Virat Kohli in order to beat India, saying "if you cut off the head of the snake, the rest of the body tends to fall".
The off-spinner has claimed Australia's bowlers have now taken aim at Root as the key man in moving through England's batting order, but Root is unconcerned by the jibes and insists his side will not be changing their approach.
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"I've heard a lot of chat about targeting me in particular but I know from our point of view we'll be targeting every single one of them," Root said ahead of England's Ashes warm-up game against a Cricket Australia XI in Townsville.
"We won't be singling any guys out. To win a Test match you've got to take 20 wickets and score more runs than them, that's the exact approach we'll have as a side.
"Of course we'll have plans for each individual player, but bring it on, it's what it's all about. You want that competitive edge to it and those little in-house rivalries."
England will be without Jimmy Anderson for what will be their third warm-up match for the Ashes series, which starts on November 23, after Root revealed the bowler was recovering from a stomach bug.
Jake Ball is expected to be available for selection though following a sprained ankle, while all-rounder Craig Overton will aim to continue his bid to fill the boots of absent Ben Stokes following his impressive display in England's last warm-up fixture, when he boasted bowling figures of 3-15.
"Craig's playing tomorrow, he's been brilliant, he's come into the tour he's thrown himself into every game and every opportunity," said Root. "Whenever he's got the ball he's stood up and really put his hand up to be selected."
England's decision to play in high temperatures in Townsville was taken to help adapt to expected conditions for their first Ashes Test in Brisbane, but a forecast of cloud could turn out to favour their swing bowlers against Australia.
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Root insists England can only "make the most of the chances when you get them", though, and is instead focused on maintaining their strong start Down Under.
"Some would say you don't want to peak too early but ultimately gaining good habits is always a good thing and that's the way we have to approach it," Root said.
"It doesn't really matter what happens in these two weeks, you want to make sure you get the confidence going into it but mentally you need to make sure you're ready for those five games."