The last time Joe Root was in Australia, he did not have a great experience. England were Down Under for the 2013-14 Ashes series and were humbled 5-0 in the five-match series by Australia. Five years later, Root, who will captain the England side for the Ashes series in December, has said that he wants to take the responsibility being the senior player in the side.
Talking about the challenges a England cricketer faces when in Australia, Root said that the crowd trouble is part and parcel of the game and it is like a challenge in Test cricket.
“I think so, it’s part and parcel of being a senior player and more established in the side,” Root was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “You take that responsibility. You can’t choose who they pick on but it’s a challenge Test cricket throws up on occasion. If you’re going to survive in it you have to find a way to deal with it.”
Root also said that it will be important to warn the players who will go to Australia for the first time for an Ashes series.
“I think it’s important to,” he said. “You don’t want to go out there and it just hit you like a train. You want to make sure you’re fully aware of what’s coming your way. Last time there were a few chants from the crowd that were quite personal at times. Quite offensive. I was slightly surprised. I thought they might give us a bit of banter but it was a bit more than that.”
“At Brisbane, a beach ball came on the field and they wanted me to throw it back. Someone said something a bit rude so I just chucked it to the steward, who popped it. For the rest of that day it carried on with not very nice words. The thing to remember, even if it doesn’t seem it at the time, is it’s generally in good spirit and they’re just trying to create an atmosphere for their side.”
The England captain was also aware that Stuart Broad will be part of the team who was booed last time he was in Australia. Broad took 21 wickets at 27.52 despite England’s thrashing but he was targeted for not walking off in the Trent Bridge Test in the previous Ashes series.
“Stuart going back there might take a little bit of heat off me,” said Root. “We all like a pantomime villain so it will be interesting to see who they target ahead of that tour. It just adds to the whole occasion. Certain characters like Stuart thrive on that, so hopefully they pick a good villain who enjoys it and it works to our advantage.”
Root said that Australian fans are very passionate and when it is a full house, it makes a great spectacle but it is great if a player can score a match-winning hundred when everyone is against him.
“They’re so passionate about cricket and desperate to win. When you get a full house and it’s rocking and the crowd are involved it makes a very entertaining spectacle to watch and also to play in. It’s great if you can go out there with everyone against you and put in a match-winning performance. That’s one of the greatest things in professional sport, to come over those difficult periods and prove your worth. It’s important as a side we look at it as an opportunity,” he said.
“You do get a hard time but when you win it’s that bit more enjoyable. Our challenge is to experience that and not let it faze us and hopefully come back with that little urn.”