Giles surprised at Root's success
Ashley Giles, England's limited-overs coach, has admitted being taken by surprise at how quickly Joe Root has settled into the international arena. Root, the Yorkshire batsman, was one of the players to significantly enhance his reputation during the ODI series against India that finished on Sunday.
A mark of Root's swift rise is that he will now be involved in all three formats on the tour to New Zealand, having previously been expected to only be a fringe player this winter. First, he was given a Test debut in Nagpur, then he was added to the Twenty20 squad before Christmas when Jonny Bairstow was ruled out, and the same situation emerged for the one-dayers when Bairstow remained unavailable.
His success in India then prompted the selectors to remove him from the Lions tour to Australia, where he was due to be captain, and send him for the ODIs in New Zealand, while Danny Briggs' injury opened up a spot in the Twenty20 squad.
Root's standout performance came in the fourth match, when he struck 57 off 45 balls and then followed that with 31 in England's successful run chase in Dharamsala. However, he also impressed in the field and with the ball, and his offspin became a useful option for Alastair Cook.
"I didn't know he could bat as well as he has," Giles said. "He had all the ingredients to show that he could bat really well. He just looks at home and he's the sort of player with which English cricket is in good hands.
"Joe's had a fantastic first tour and has developed game on game into someone who is playing all forms of the game."
The other player to shine consistently through the one-day tour was offspinner James Tredwell, who claimed 11 wickets at 18.18 in the five matches. His success has been enough for Giles to suggest that England could consider playing both him and Graeme Swann in the same team, although the likelihood is that Tredwell will be back as the reserve for the ODIs against New Zealand next month.
"It just gives us great options - I don't see at some point why you couldn't play two offspinners in the same side," Giles said. "Tredders has been fantastic this trip."
The five-match series was also a steep learning curve for Giles in his first assignment as the limited-overs coach, having taken over from Andy Flower in the new England coaching structure. Giles now takes the squad to New Zealand for three Twenty20s and three ODIs, the latter will provide more fine-tuning ahead of the Champions Trophy, and he is feeling more at home with each match.
"Certainly I have learned a lot about this level and as the tour has gone on I have become more and more myself," he said. "It has been an enjoyable tour, playing cricket in these beautiful arenas, and while we are disappointed to lose, we have learned a lot."
England have a couple of days off after arriving in Auckland before starting their preparations for the warm-up matches ahead of the Twenty20 series. They play two matches against a New Zealand XI that will include former captain Ross Taylor, as he continues the process of returning to the national side following his self-imposed break during the South Africa tour after his controversial sacking.