Joe Root says England World Cup success can help Ashes campaign
"It's all about us preparing how we want to and being absolutely ready for everything Australia come and throw at us"
Last Updated: 25/03/19 5:05pm
Joe Root says that leading England out in a home Ashes series for the first time this summer will be "very special" but is eager not to get too ahead of himself, with plenty of important cricket to be played before the first Test at Edgbaston on August 1.
Root's summer begins with a return to training this week, before he plays for Yorkshire in their opening two County Championship games - vs Nottinghamshire (April 5), vs Hampshire (April 11). England then have the small matter of a home World Cup, starting on May 30.
The England Test skipper is hopeful a successful run in the 50-over tournament - ideally ending in lifting the trophy - can bring a feel-good factor into the Ashes series.
"It will be very special," said Root on captaining England in a home Ashes. "The hairs stand up on your arms just thinking about it.
"But there's so much cricket to be played between now and then, that it would be wrong to look too far ahead to those opening days and all of those little intricacies that come with an Ashes series.
"Most importantly, you've got to get some runs early season - give yourself a load of confidence going into what is going to be an amazing summer.
"[Hosting the World Cup] is obviously very exciting. At this time of the season, after having a bit of time off, very quickly your mind starts switching to what's to come.
"Hopefully we'll be on a flier after a brilliant World Cup. Ultimately when those Test matches come round, we know we're going to have to be absolutely ready for them."
Root's England experienced a mixed winter ahead of the Ashes, impressing during a 3-0 Test series whitewash of Sri Lanka in November, only to disappoint dramatically in a 2-1 defeat to the West Indies in the new year.
But, Root points to England's improvement to win the final Test in St Lucia by 232 runs, as well as the growth of the side from the 2017/18 tours of Australia and New Zealand that saw them return winless as they lost the Ashes 4-0.
"It was tough," Root said, reflecting on the disappointing West Indies tour. "The first two games we certainly underperformed. But it was really important that we played to our potential in St Lucia, and we did that fantastically well.
"And look at the winter as a whole and compare it to the previous winter where we didn't win a game; to come away with four wins out of six was a fantastic turnaround.
"It shows the improvement and development of the team over the last couple of years. Hopefully we can take that confidence forward into what is sure to be a massive finish to the summer.
"It's really important we stay very grounded, don't look too far ahead and continue to look to get better all the time.
"We know if we play to our potential in these conditions, we will be a very difficult side to beat. It's all about us preparing how we want to and being absolutely ready for everything Australia come and throw at us."
"Whenever Australia come over to England, generally there’s always one that cops it from the Barmy Army. It will be interesting to see how the public receive them, but ultimately it doesn’t matter to us."
Root on Steve Smith and David Warner's Ashes return
Prior to the Ashes, Root forms part of Eoin Morgan's white-ball side that are favourites to win the World Cup on home soil. However, England's ODI team also underwhelmed in the West Indies, drawing their series 2-2.
Root feels the tied series - ending England's streak of multi-game, bilateral series wins at nine - serves as a valuable lesson prior to the World Cup, with eight ODIs still to be played prior to the tournament (vs Ireland, five vs Pakistan, vs Australia, vs Afghanistan).
"[The West Indies tour] was obviously an opportunity to put together a string of good performances coming into a World Cup," said Root. "I think it's really important that we take on board what happened, and we come into this summer full of confidence.
"We're an experienced side now and we will have learned from that. But it's a nice little reminder for us almost that we can't become complacent and we've just got to continue to keep looking to get better.
"We've played some great stuff over the last couple of years and shown that we're a very good side in our own conditions.
"The eight games we have before the World Cup starts is an opportunity for us to get into the best place possible, so we're peaking when we need to be."
Joe Root was speaking to Sky Sports News at Lord's for the launch of The Root Academy app.