Sri Lanka in England 2016 May 12, 2016

Root happy with middle-order brief

When it comes to batting at No. 3 for England, the impression from Joe Root is that he is in no rush whatsoever to lobby for the job. Why would you when you are averaging 54.93 in Test cricket, you are having so much fun and you are convinced that England's Test side is on an upswing?

The call-up of James Vince for England's Test squad, one senses, therefore suits Root to a tee. England have not just retained Nick Compton at first wicket down, they have Vince on debut at five with a career history that suggests he would grab the No. 3 role if things worked out that way. Root would therefore have to option to busy himself at No. 4 and leave things to develop as they will.

Root suggests he is "not really too fussed to be honest" when the thought of batting at three is put to him, but a place lower in the order has become endearing. It is here where he has discovered an enchanting tempo and become the pivotal figure in an England side proud of its attacking intent.

"I feel that I am getting to grips with that role within the side," Root said. "I just want to keep improving: whether that means moving up the order or staying were I am that's fine. No. 4 is a position where I do enjoy batting and I enjoy batting with the guys around me there as well so I think it suits the way my game is set up."

Statistically, the case supports keeping Root in the middle order. He averages 54.62 at No. 4 and 73.12 at No. 5, compared to 32.83 at No. 3 and 37. 66 opening the batting - albeit those returns came in challenging circumstance during back-to-back Ashes series near the start of his international career.

If Vince's selection will quicken debate about England's best batting order, Root regards the internal competition as beneficial. "I think that is a good thing," he said. "You have got opportunities to press your claims; people will be wanting to prove that they are the man to pick.

"I think that is important to have that competition and rivalry - well not rivalry but you know what I am trying to say - where you are always wanting to improve in your practice and I think that sets us up really nicely for the start of the summer."

He has played a lot of cricket with Vince in age group sides - they are the same age, at 25 - and he joined the chorus of approval from Test cricketers, past and present, who look more at Vince's methodology than his first-class average and see a Test cricketer in the making.

"James he's been around the side all winter in shorter formats and has a fantastic temperament," Root said. "He has got a solid game which fits beautifully for Test cricket and given the opportunity I'm sure he will take it and perform extremely well and show his class.

Joe Root was at Headingley to promote healthy living © Getty Images

"I am really looking forward to him stamping his mark on Test cricket and, if given the opportunity, showing everyone what he can do. In county cricket I honestly think he is one of those players who will come in to international cricket and really raise his game."

Vince's Test call up has revived the comparisons with Michael Vaughan that have reared their head since early in his career when the former England coach, Duncan Fletcher, made the observation. Vaughan himself has long been a big fan.

"I can see he has that very classical cover drive and the swivel pull I suppose - the two shots that Vaughany was remembered for," Root said. "But I think he is his own player. They obviously go about their business completely differently and he will be desperate to prove a name for himself rather than be compared to someone else. He is a fine player and I am really excited he is in the squad and he has the opportunity to show everyone how good he is."

Vitality is partnering with England cricketer Joe Root, who will take on the role of ambassador. Joe will use his passion for healthy living to inspire everyone to be active and make positive changes to their lifestyles. Visit www.vitality.co.uk for further information

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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