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January 14, 2013
Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, has called for Joe Root to open the batting on England's tour to New Zealand in March.
Root made his England debut in the fourth Test against India in Nagpur and Vaughan saw enough evidence to suggest he will be opening the batting with Alastair Cook sooner rather than later.
"He looked an England player from the minute he went out to bat in the Test match," Vaughan told ESPNcricinfo. "He looks like he'll have a tremendous future with the team."
Root made a composed 73 to help England out of trouble in the first-innings in Nagpur and demonstrated the attacking side of his game in a second-innings unbeaten 20 that saw England safely to a draw.
Vaughan, a batting mentor for Root, also began his career at the same Yorkshire League club, Sheffield Collegiate. He would like to see Root's talent immediately utilised at the top of the order - a move which would also create space in the batting line up for another young, talented Yorkshireman.
"I would go for Root in New Zealand and bring Jonny Bairstow back at No. 6," Vaughan said. "Jonny was unlucky to miss out in India with what he did against South Africa and probably has to do a bit of work on playing spin but if you look at the next 10 months - New Zealand and Australia home and away - it's seam bowling conditions which Johnny plays so well. You'd want to get him back into the team."
Bairstow only played the second Test against India as cover for Ian Bell, who returned home for the birth of his son, and has not travelled with the England ODI squad because of a family illness.
His absence gave Root the chance to make his ODI debut in a winning start for England in the opening match in Rajkot; a performance that impressed Vaughan. "Since the first Test defeat England have been quite outstanding and winning the first ODI was very important to get their confidence back. It was a big win for the team.
"It's a good sign that players are playing to their natural ability. The batting is strong, there is such depth. They can all hit the ball out of the park."
The victory continued England's excellent form in ODIs; form they will hope to carry through to the Champions Trophy in June and an Ashes summer - the ODI leg of which Vaughan will be following on his cycle challenge to raise funds for Chance to Shine and the Laureus Sport for Good foundation.
Vaughan will be joined by other cricketing personalities on a five-leg route from Leeds to London, via Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Southampton.
"Chance to Shine have done a great job of getting cricket played in state schools and the more funds you raise the more expertise you can provide," Vaughan said. "Along the journey we'll be dropping into schools and doing some coaching and getting involved with some of the Laureus projects as well. It's a great opportunity to cycle around the country, raise some money and watch a bit of cricket."
The ODI series follows the Ashes, for which Vaughan has England favourites by a good distance but warns of the ability of Michael Clarke to stir up a new group of players. "In Clarke they have a captain who's very positive, he's very vibrant and has a young set of players around him that are all going to work and play for him and the baggy green. They'll be very well led but I don't think they'll have enough experience to compete against England in English conditions."
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