Exclusive: Root expects 'fierce' Lehmann rivalry

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England’s star youngster Joe Root is aiming to get one over Australia’s head coach Darren Lehmann after the Yorkshireman visited his Adelaide academy three years ago which helped him on the road to an international career.

The 22-year-old is fully expected to open the batting alongside captain Alastair Cook in the first Test in Brisbane next month and will get his first chance to impress tomorrow against the Australia Chairman’s XI (2.30am GMT start).

It will be the first time he plays in the country since his tour in 2010/11 where he featured for the Prospect District Cricket Club which works in conjunction with the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy. Lehmann himself is a Yorkshire legend, playing 88 first-class games with an average of over 68 which included hitting 26 centuries and a high score of 339.

Root was in the Yorkshire academy when the current Australian head coach was destroying the county circuit with his vibrant batting style and in 2010 he was invited to his academy where Lehmann mentored the Sheffield-born batsman during a long winter in South Wales.

The level headed opener has shot to fame over the past 12-months which included a stunning 180 at Lord’s in the second Ashes Test and he exclusively explains to GiveMeSport the time spent with Lehmann and West Indian Carl Hooper was invaluable.

“Three years ago now I went to the Darren Lehmann academy which is in Adelaide and spent about five months over there and I really enjoyed it.

“That made me really excited for getting back out here again to be honest, it’s all come round very quickly but I’m ready to go.”

It will not be the first time England and Root in particular have come up against Lehmann after he accepted the head coach role just weeks before the 2013 Ashes and Root says he wants to get one over his former mentor.

“It is funny how things like that work out in sport but hopefully I and us as a side can get one over him and beat them in their own back yard.

“We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and look after our own game and as individuals as well, if we do that then we’ll be a hard side to beat over there,” Root emphasised to GiveMeSport.

“I was only in the academy while he (Lehmann) was at Yorkshire so I didn’t get to know him much while he was there but he had a fantastic record for the club and he is very well respected there. Things are slightly different now and I’m sure we’ll have a fierce rivalry going to Australia.”

Michael Carberry will join Root in opening the batting for England tomorrow with Alastair Cook not risked with a slight back problem in an experimental side that includes Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes and Boyd Rankin.

“I’m obviously very excited and I was absolutely knackered from all of the testing we had to go through at Loughborough but it’s really exciting times ahead.

“This will hopefully be the longest tour I’ll have been on, it is a long time but it’s not a bad country to spend a long time in is it? I can’t complain because it’s so exciting and I really am looking forward to it all.”

England XI to face a Western Australia Chairman's XI: Root, Carberry, Trott, Bell, Ballance, Stokes, Prior, Rankin, Tremlett, Finn, Anderson.

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Joe Root
The Ashes
England cricket

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