England are due to start a home series against New Zealand this week and have a side that virtually picks itself with Joe Root now firmly established as a member of the team.
However, what we are still not sure of is where Root will bat for England with many believing he should open the batting.
Root’s early season form has been outstanding so far. At only 22-years-old Root has shown a huge amount of maturity for both Yorkshire and the England Lions, who he captained.
In the England Lions game against a New Zealand attack, which will probably be similar to the first Test attack, Root showed, in challenging conditions, that he had very few technical flaws.
He played with soft hands and presented the full face of the bat whilst building his score of 179. His foot movements showed how confident he was particularly after amassing more than 560 runs in his last four innings, including two centuries and a double century.
With no disrespect to New Zealand I believe England should use Root as an opener in preparation for the up-coming back-to-back Ashes series, instead of Nick Compton.
Compton has done nothing wrong during his short England career but the undoubted talent and recent form of Root should warrant an opportunity at opening the batting where he can be given time to build long innings which he is capable of doing.
Batting at number six will limit Root’s chances of doing this and England will not benefit fully from his talent. Batting with the tail end is not what Joe Root should be doing.
Compton will be a difficult player to dislodge from his opening partnership with England captain Alastair Cook. The pair have struck up a good understanding on the winter tours to India and New Zealand.
Compton showed his grit and determination in India by occupying the crease for long periods of time without making a huge score which his performances merited.
India is often regarded as one of the toughest tours so to start his England career in this manner was very impressive. Compton then went to New Zealand and scored back-to-back centuries, which will have given him great satisfaction and given him the belief that he is a Test cricketer.
However, Root can be an England player for a decade or more and the England selectors have earmarked him very early on in his fledgling carer, for which they must be commended. He has a very good temperament and a steely determination typical of a Yorkshire man.
It is not very often a talent as exciting as Root comes along and for that reason I believe he should be given an opportunity opening the batting.
Although unfortunate for Compton, sometimes these decisions have to be made for the good of England and their chances of beating Australia and ultimately regaining their world number one ranking.
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