County news April 7, 2014

Root plans happier purple patch

Joe Root beat a rapid retreat from Yorkshire's season opening media event at Headingley for an x-ray on a broken thumb that for much of the past month has born a similarity to Yorkshire's startling new purple one-day kit.

Purple, according to some psychology websites, is associated with sensitivity and compassion, so perhaps Yorkshire are keen on building a new image - although kings used to prefer purple and a few of them were despots, so you never can tell.

For Root, the colour carried more reminders of an injury that has left his season tinged with uncertainty. He is optimistic about making a return against Middlesex at Lord's at the end of the month, although after five x-rays and counting he is taking nothing for granted. At least there was a new two-year contract to cheer him up yesterday, taking him through to the end of 2016.

Root was struck by a ball shortly after the start of his innings of 107 for England against West Indies in an ODI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on 5 March. Yorkies value toughness in their players, and cannot fail to be impressed by how Root batted through the pain with an injury the extent of which was not revealed until he returned to England.

"I've no idea about my chances of going straight back into the England side," Root said. "All I can do is start this season like I did last and score lots of runs for Yorkshire. Things didn't go well in Australia, but you have to take it on the chin and hope for the best."

The club's new president Dickie Bird, on hand to oversee proceedings at Headingley, even made reference to Brian Close, and despite his angelic appearance Root might have the similar right stuff. There would be no higher praise than that. The initial x-ray in Antigua indicated a clean break but subsequent examinations in Leeds revealed that a bone at the front of end of the thumb had been broken into five pieces. Healing has been going well.

Root accepted that his thumb might be permanently out of shape, but that is not unusual in cricketers. Like many, he acknowledged that his chances of being selected for England at the start of the international summer depend on runs for Yorkshire early on. He might have to outscore his team mates Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance in April and May to be sure of the call-up, although unlike both of them, he begins as the preferred option.