Joe Root: I’ve always looked up to Eoin Morgan – Sky Cricket Podcast

Joe Root says he has “always looked up to” England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan in how he has approached his job as skipper of the Test team.

Root was a key member of Morgan’s team that turned round their white-ball fortunes over the last four years, going from an embarrassing group-stage exit in the 2015 World Cup to winning the tournament on home soil in 2019.

Speaking on the latest ‘lockdown’ Sky Cricket Podcast with Ian Ward, Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton, Root admits his aggressive approach adopted from his time in the white-ball team initially got him in trouble but believes he is now finding his way.

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“I’ve always looked up to Eoin’s captaincy and tried to pick his brains,” said Root. “Try to take from his knowledge of cricket and better my understanding.

“To start with, I probably tried to use too much of it and tried to almost over-complicate certain aspects of Test cricket by trying to force the game too much.

“I was trying to be too expansive and I was too rigid in that, not understanding that there are certain times, certain passages and certain conditions where you have to be a bit more pragmatic.

“Over time, we’ve now developed a very clear way of how we want to perform, which should travel well wherever we go.

“But I think there are certain things that you only learn by doing, by putting yourself in those situations and trying things.

“Of course it’s a results business and you want to find that solution very early on. It didn’t quite happen that way for me as a captain and for us as a Test team, but it’s starting to feel like it’s moving in that direction now.”

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Root took over as Test captain in 2017 and initially led England to back-to-back series wins over South Africa and West Indies at home.

But, it’s overseas where the team has generally struggled, losing four our of five series – a 3-0 win in Sri Lanka in 2018-19 the only exception – before beginning to turn a corner with a 3-1 series win in South Africa earlier this year.

England slipped to a heavy defeat in the opening game in Centurion, before Root led his charges to three wins on the trot, with the second Test triumph in Cape Town the catalyst for the turnaround.

“Cape Town was the perfect example,” Root added, in reference to his optimism that his team are going in the right direction. “One thing we’ve always had is belief but, for a number of years now, we’d not always married that up with skill levels and smart cricket in certain pockets of games.

“But if you look at the India series [win] at home, Sri Lanka away, we’ve been involved in some very tight games and we’ve found a way to win through belief.

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“Similarly, at Cape Town, going off at tea [on the final day], we still needed five wickets and we found a way to take them, through sheer belief, hard work and will.

“I really do think that’s because the whole group has bought into the way we’re trying to do things. It’s very clear how we want to play our Test cricket now; everyone knows their role.

“There are more exciting opportunities round the corner that could end in very special memories and results.

“The Ashes in a couple years’ time, that’s something that, as a team, we’re building up towards and it’s a big driving force in me wanting to get better every day – doing something special over there and hopefully making history.”

Also on the latest lockdown Sky Cricket Podcast…

Root talks about his cricketing beginnings, playing men’s cricket at an early age and recalls how a sharp growth spurt somewhat hindered his development

Nasser recalls his great fear of failure when batting for England, and how that contrasts with Root’s obvious love of batting when he watches him play.

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