October 23, 2019 / 5:56 AM / 22 days ago

England's Root refuses to be 'eaten up' by younger T20 talents

Golf - European Tour - BMW PGA Championship - Wentworth Golf Club, Virginia Water, Britain - September 18, 2019 England cricket player Joe Root during the Pro-Am Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Red-ball cricket remains Joe Root’s priority but England’s test captain is not just going to let upcoming talents shove him out of the Twenty20 squad, the 28-year-old has said.

Root is not a muscular power-hitter and many wonder if he is cut out for the game’s shortest format even though he has a decent average of 35.72 with a 126-plus strike rate in the 32 Twenty20 internationals he has played.

England have rested Root, their top scorer in the final of the 2016 World T20, for next month’s five-match Twenty20 series in New Zealand, while naming the uncapped strokemaker Tom Banton.

“For me to get into the T20 side, it will mean that I have to keep getting better,” Root told British media.

“If someone like Tom Banton comes in and sets the world alight, I’ve got to try to force him out in the limited opportunities I get to play.

“If that happens, it raises the standard of English cricket in that format. That’s the food chain that cricket is sometimes. You have to be at the top of it otherwise you get swept away and eaten up.”

Under him, England will also play two tests in New Zealand later in November and Root said playing all three formats would make him a better batsman.

“I know how important it is that test cricket is my main focus,” said Root, part of England’s maiden 50-over World Cup winning team.

“But as long as the other formats aren’t a distraction or taking away from what I can give to the test team, I’ll always look to improve my game and put myself in as many situations and scenarios which I think will long-term help me as a player.”

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Stephen Coates

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