Ben Stokes hails consistent Joe Root as England’s ‘rock’

West Indies v England - 1st One Day International

Ben Stokes has hailed Joe Root as England’s “rock” and hopes the Test captain can lead the side to glory this summer.

Yorkshireman Root will be a crucial part of England’s top order in both the World Cup, under Eoin Morgan’s one-day leadership, and the Ashes series that follows.

And Stokes told Press Association Sport: “He’s so consistent, in white-ball cricket and red-ball cricket.

“He’s the rock of the team, you’re sort of shocked if he doesn’t get any runs.

“He almost starts every innings on 30, he looks that good when he goes in. Some, myself included, look like they’ve never batted before at times whereas he goes out and makes the game look incredibly easy.

“If he does well, I think the England team generally do very well so hopefully he’s firing on all cylinders come the summer.”

Root made at least 36 in every innings in the one-day and Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan this month, with a top score of 84 on his home ground of Headingley, while his most recent Test knock brought a century against the West Indies.

England v Pakistan - 5th Royal London ODI

Trevor Bayliss’ coaching has been another key aspect of the change in England’s one-day culture, which will make them favourites for the World Cup starting on May 30 on home soil.

The Australian will leave his post at the end of the Ashes and Stokes hailed his impact, particularly in the shorter formats.

“He’s been a massive part in changing the dynamic of the one-day team, and how we approach things,” said the Durham all-rounder.

“He and Eoin Morgan have worked brilliantly together. He’s been brilliant in the change in our mindset towards one-day cricket.

England Net Session

“I think he’s known as one of the best white-ball coaches in the world but if he isn’t, you can just look at how he’s transformed this team. He’s been amazing with us.”

Bayliss’ one-day side will be looking to emulate the achievement of England’s women, who won the 2017 World Cup as hosts.

Stokes said: “That Women’s World Cup was brilliant for women’s cricket, and women’s sport in general, the amount of people they got watching the games.

“I think women’s cricket has gone to a whole other level over the last couple of years, and to see the women lift the trophy at the end of that tournament was great for them and great for not just women’s cricket but for English cricket.”

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