Sky Cricket Podcast: England's Joe Root reflects on his first year as captain
"It is about keeping the players thinking about the right things and making sure we're doing everything we can to be winning games of cricket. Only that way will we get back up to where we want to be, which is back towards the top of the world rankings"
Last Updated: 19/05/18 10:53am
A year into the job as England Test captain, Joe Root talks to Sky Sports Cricket to reflect on a testing introduction.
Root's captaincy got off to a strong start with series wins over South Africa and West Indies but then his side went winless during troublesome winter tours of Australia and New Zealand.
With Pakistan and India the tourists to England this summer - the first Test against Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket from Thursday, May 24 - Root is optimistic his side can bounce back and begin to climb the ICC world Test rankings.
"There has been a lot go on over quite a short period of time," Root said on the latest Sky Cricket Podcast. "For me, it has been about finding ways of managing it, dealing with it - keeping the players thinking about the right things and making sure we're doing everything we can to be winning games of cricket.
"Only that way will we get back up to where we should be, and want to be, as a side which is back towards the top of the world rankings.
"It's not something that will happen overnight - but I feel I've got a way in which I want us to go about doing that and, over time, there's no reason why we can't.
"I don't think huge changes are needed to be made but I there are certain things I want to put my stamp on. It's going to be a big challenging summer for us - seven Test matches is a lot of cricket - but a great opportunity to get to where we want to get to."
While Root is not shifting his focus from those seven Tests - two against Pakistan and five against India - he acknowledges this summer is a huge opportunity to find his best side capable of beating Australia and regaining the Ashes on home soil in 2019.
England announced their squad for the first Test against Pakistan at Lord's on Tuesday, with Jos Buttler recalled, Mark Stoneman keeping his spot as opener, and Somerset offspinner Dominic Bess earning a debut call-up.
"A few guys are still trying to find their way in the Test game - they're going to have a big summer ahead of them to make sure that they take their opportunity," Root said.
"If they stand up and we start to become more consistent - scoring bigger first innings scores is a big thing for us - I can see it all there.
"The frustrating thing is we didn't reach our potential during the winter. This summer is a really big opportunity for us to go and do that. When you start winnings one or two games, that confidence starts coming back - it doesn't have to be you that has performed; you can thrive off other people's confidence and the energy it can bring.
"You have to put trust in certain players - of course you want a response and you want something back for that trust that you've put in guys, but I fully believe certain characters will respond well to that.
"Every player always has one eye on Ashes cricket and it will always be festering there in the back of your mind, but there is some massive cricket to be played first this summer.
"We've got a great opportunity to play some strong cricket in the conditions in which those Ashes are going to be played in. I'm greedy - I want to be ambitious; it's a good way to approach the game.
"I know what we're capable of, I know what we can do and how far we can go - that really excites me."
Click here to listen to the podcast in full, which also includes Root's thoughts on…
- Off-the-field incidents that disrupted his first year as captain
- Looking ahead to the Ashes and ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019
- His upcoming battle against India captain Virat Kohli
- Being in and out of the England T20I side and not being selected for the IPL
- The opportunity to grow the game in England over the next year
Watch England take on Pakistan, Australia and India this summer on Sky Sports Cricket. For our full schedule click here.