England in New Zealand 2012-13

Flower warns against Root hype

Andrew McGlashan in Queenstown

March 3, 2013

Comments: 29 | Text size: A | A

Nick Compton and Joe Root opened the innings, Mumbai A v England XI, Mumbai, 1st day, November 3, 2012
Joe Root's impressive start to his international career has increased pressure on Nick Compton © Getty Images
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Andy Flower, the England team director, has cautioned against over-hyping Joe Root's early success at international level after his form prompted discussion as to whether he should immediately be promoted to open in Tests, and which of the established top order he could force out for the 2013 Champions Trophy.

With the new split coaching role that has Ashley Giles in charge of the limited-overs squads, Flower has not been around the team during Root's impressive run in India and New Zealand since the start of this year. However, Flower did see at first hand Root's Test debut in Nagpur, where he made 73 off 229 balls in the first innings to help England towards their series-clinching draw.

Root gave another composed display during England's warm-up match against the New Zealand XI in Queenstown - scoring 49 in the first innings and contributing useful overs during the three-wicket defeat - ahead of a series where he is penciled in to retain the No. 6 position he had in Nagpur.

Root has already been given tags ranging from the opener-in-waiting to a future England captain, so while acknowledging what he had achieved in the embryonic stage of his career, Flower hoped expectations would not become too inflated.

"You've got to remember Joe Root has played one Test match," he said. "I think everyone should keep a little calm about his prospects. No one knows exactly how he's going to do, not Joe and none of us.

"But he has handled himself very well in the international competition and the opportunities he's been given so far. We look forward to him having a very successful career, but he's got to take it one step at a time - as do all of us."

Another impact of Root's emergence has been to increase the pressure on Nick Compton. Debate continues about one of the few questionable places in the England Test line-up despite Compton's solid performances in India. He made only 21 and 1 against the New Zealand XI to be, along with Kevin Pietersen, the most short of time in the middle.

"I thought Nick played really well in India," Flower said. "He had some tricky situations to deal with there - some extreme subcontinent conditions, obviously the pressure of playing in India for the first time. I thought he did extremely well out there, without getting the huge score. He put on some really valuable partnerships with Cook.

"He missed out in this game, having spent a bit of time there in the first innings when the ball was darting around. He's a good player."

The England squad made the three-hour journey to Dunedin, the venue for the first Test, on Sunday but before leaving picture-perfect Queenstown, Flower also reflected on a performance against the New Zealand XI that was less pleasing on the eye than the backdrop.

In both innings the top order failed to impose itself - the first innings was guided by a pleasing performance from Ian Bell and Matt Prior boosted the second - and the pace bowling was less-than-convincing as the New Zealand XI lost just seven wickets in each innings, chasing down 334 on the final day with eight balls to spare.

"Winning is a great habit to keep, but they played pretty well and I thought we were a little sloppy in a few areas," Flower said. "But there were some good things to come out of that game. I thought Bell and Prior were excellent with the bat.

Stuart Broad runs in to bowl against New Zealand XI, New Zealand XI v England XI, 2nd day, Tour match, Queenstown
Stuart Broad is almost certain to play the first Test © Getty Images

"The bowlers, after a poor first-innings display, all got better in the second innings. It's not ideal, losing. But the crux of the matter is the first Test is four days away, and that's when it will count.

"I think there was ring-rustiness there, without a doubt. That was obvious for all to see. The point of playing these games is to get ready for the first Test. It was an excellent game of cricket ... all in all, a very good outing for everyone."

No one was rustier than seamer Graham Onions who had a forgettable match, ending with figures of 1 for 213 from 38 overs, which means Stuart Broad is assured of a return to the Test team although, as ever, Flower would not confirm any selection decisions. Broad was the pick of England's quicks as he put his troublesome heel through a solid work out, maintaining good pace in multiple spells, and did not appear hindered at any point.

"I'm very pleased," Flower said. "His heel is obviously a worry to him and to us. But it reacted well to the number of overs he bowled, and he came through it well. He is fit and available for selection for the first Test."

Still, half of England's bowling attack in the first Test will be pushing bodies that are not in prime order. Along with Broad's heel there is Graeme Swann's elbow to monitor. He spent six overs off the field on the final day in Queenstown, when he sent down 20 overs in total, for what was termed 'routine' work on the elbow, which underwent surgery in 2009 and will remain a concern for the rest of Swann's career.

Swann will have an immense workload in the next 12 months - unlike the quicks he is unlikely to consistently have someone to share the burden - and 15 Tests between now and the end of the back-to-back Ashes, not to mention the Champions Trophy, could stretch his joint to breaking point.

"Inevitably, there are niggles - the stresses and strains that are put on their bodies mean there always are," Flower said. "But at the moment everyone is fine."

Flower was also confident that, despite the bowling attack struggling in the absence of James Anderson and Steven Finn, there were enough resources to cover whatever situations occur.

"We've got some very fine international bowlers. That's why we've had a lot of success recently. We're always conscious of the contingency plans in case some of our star bowlers get injured - and because of the nature of the job they do, they are going to get injured. I am confident that, if we do have injuries, we will have bowlers who can create pressure and chances."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by AKS286 on (March 4, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

My Test team will- Cook, Root, Trott, Bell, KP, Comton/ Suppiah, Prior, Swanny, Finn, Anderson, Onion. ODI Team- Hales, Cook, Lumb. Root, KP, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Swann/tredwell, Finn, Anderson.

Posted by AKS286 on (March 4, 2013, 17:05 GMT)

@ Barry Glynn on (March 3, 2013, 23:26 GMT) No buddy I'm not Australian. I think Front Foot Lunge will explain about my comments - the world's best spinner. and YES is the answer of second question.

Posted by jackiethepen on (March 4, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

Joe Root has done well but the media hype has been absurd. The problem is that most fans don't get the agenda behind the hype. The media want to squeeze Bairstow into the side, so someone has to go. The headlines were Root and Bairstow must play. So really moving up Root to replace Compton was to release the No 6 spot for Bairstow. Everyone surely knows that you don't open with a cricketer who has played 1 Test no matter how promising. You also don't drop a player who has done nothing wrong. Very poor message for the dressing room. You win games with team spirit not back stabbing. I hope the fuss won't upset Root. Too much praise is just as bad as too little. He's in the right spot for his development. Leave him alone. If we need another opener we'll attend to that problem. Compton has to face the media ready to pounce on every mistake just to prove a point. We know how biased they are. Perhaps he should talk to Bell for advice.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 4:50 GMT)

Root looks a fine player with shots around the ground. He proved in sub continent he plays spin well. Looks a different class to Patel for example. Root isn't a stone overweight for a start and bowls just as well as Patel. Root has youth on his side, Compton looks what he is, a steady county bat, nothing more.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 0:24 GMT)

@Robster1 With all respect, actually have a look at the stats before you go making comments on where Compton scores runs... you may want to reconsider your statement.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 4, 2013, 0:15 GMT)

@landl47 on (March 3, 2013, 14:43 GMT), while I'd said a number of times that I thought that Bell could be a good opener in ODIs, I'd never given more than passing consideration to his opening in Tests but, if England found themselves in need of an opener, it might not be a bad idea. Moving to the top of the order has certainly revitalised his ODI career and, while Test cricket is a different kettle of fish, it might do the same there. His recent record shows that he's probably better at #3 than #5 and opening would be more akin to the former than the latter. I think that the extra responsibility might help him fulfil his considerable potential. We're a way off England having to make that decision though.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2013, 23:42 GMT)

Cant believe people are calling for nick comptons head, look at how terribly the aussies are doing in India, they would love to have a nick compton in the side... The logical move would put compton at 6 and have root open with cook!

Posted by   on (March 3, 2013, 23:26 GMT)

ASK286, are you Australian? You say some of the worlds best spinners like Lyon , Dochertyand Maxwell". Are you having a laugh? Australia havent got any decent spinners, thats why they are being thrashed in India

Posted by SCC08 on (March 3, 2013, 22:47 GMT)

@frontfootlunge. Your world beaters just lost to a NZ mix side. Your test side was playing that game. How do you suggest this side could compete with SA? Referring to the NZ mix side that just beat you.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (March 3, 2013, 19:14 GMT)

From what we've seen of Root, he is a batsman who reads the game well & plays in a manner approriate to the situation he finds himself coming into. He has the potential to open the innings where Yorks put him, yet the captain & Nick Compton have developed a good steady understanding through the series in India: no need to change that then at the moment. I do, however, see him as #3 where he can set the tone for the innings & see off the rest of the new ball, if that hasn't already been accomplished. (A #3 will sometimes find himself as a de facto opener anyway; IMO, the postion is more reserve opener than middle order) This raises the question of Trott who I would move to #5 with Bell #6, or vice-versa. Root is the future & putting him at first drop is an idea worth investigating v NZ. We are more likely to see more of him & certainly learn more about him if he's given #3 berth & this series, with respect to NZ, is the ideal opportunity.

Posted by Robster1 on (March 3, 2013, 18:20 GMT)

It's just a question of when Root displaces Compton. The latter is a class short of international level who's made many runs on Taunton's notoriously flat track. Root should play all three tests in New Zealand.

Posted by rajattiwaari on (March 3, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

Very sensible assessment from Andy Flower (not surprisingly). I have always believed we must avoid passing a judgement on a youngster too soon(whether positive or negative).Having said that , Joe Root looks a terrific player. And its not just his talent but his temperament which has brought him success early on in his career.

Posted by SamRoy on (March 3, 2013, 16:16 GMT)

@Tim Weller I agree with you. I think Taylor is a very fine cricketer. Deserves to be blooded in the ODI Team. Far better than Samit Patel, Craig Kieswetter or even Jade Dernbach (though Patel is a decent player of spin bowling). These overrated, overhyped so called "limited overs specialists" are the reason why England has never won the world cup. A good cricketer is a good cricketer. He should be given a chance in all formats, if he cannot adapt accordingly then he can be dropped from the team for that format.

Posted by AKS286 on (March 3, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

I think Flower is right. Root is still untested. He faced 3 spinners in india and scored beautifully. But Until & unless we have look at his batting against some of the World's Best spinners like Lyon, Doherty & maxwell then we will get the clear picture.

Posted by AKS286 on (March 3, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

Root is in very early of his career, IMO he should bat with Cook this will boost his confidence & morale specially in test, Along with cook his batting, technique & temperament will also developed. In Odis his batting order is no.6 which is a batting order of a finisher and no doubt he is not a finisher, opening or no.3 is good.

Posted by bumsonseats on (March 3, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

tim weller good point and i hope he does not miss out on selection. the batting is fairly settled other the opening spot. i am of the opinion that Compton maybe not quite what we need.that said Root could go opener as he seems it would not faze him that been so Taylor could bat 6. its a nice position to be in though. i hope moving to notts helps him gain a place in the 11 in time

Posted by landl47 on (March 3, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

Good sense as usual from Flower. I'm not even sure Root is best as an opener; he strikes me as more of a Mike Hussey type, a good temperament which allows him to adapt to every situation. Players like that are better in the middle order, where versatility is most needed. Hussey spent most of his caeer as an opener before finding his niche down the order for Australia.

Personally, if Compton doesn't make the position his own, I'd be inclined to look at Bell opening. He's done very well in ODIs and that might be the start of a career change for him.

Posted by bumsonseats on (March 3, 2013, 14:22 GMT)

i think when flowers speaks people listen, the guy talks cricketing sense. i hope the splitting of the leaders of test odis and T20 was his doing and not forced on him. if he feels the benefits and more time with his family which prolongs his career. as sometimes 5 years is the norm for international coaches.

Posted by bumsonseats on (March 3, 2013, 14:09 GMT)

laurie not sure that 7 will be his position as the 6 looks the more favorable ,then as an opener if compton were to miss out. as to turning pitches in NZ if so, that in memory will be the 1st if that were to happen as the wickets are green going on excellent and good for batting. if spinning wickets i dont know who NZ would play, patel ? but as we have 2 of the best i guess we could cope.

Posted by bumsonseats on (March 3, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

well said flowers i am sure you and the senior players will if needed keep the young guys feet, firmly on the ground. but he is a yorky so i expect he will, us northern lads don't have the same thinking as those soft southerners

Posted by   on (March 3, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

I wonder if England had given the same chance to James Taylor, as they have to Bairstow and Root, when he played for a second division side whether he would now be a test certainty? His list A and 40 over average is far better than both.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 3, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

What a talent Root is, he is without a doubt the most talented new batsman in the world. To think he can't get a game because there's so many vying for places in the England team just goes to show how much talent they have. An assault on the world number 1 test spot is well within their grasp within the next year and a half.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 3, 2013, 12:17 GMT)

It's natural and sensible that Flower tries to diffuse the hype around Root but I've got no doubt that he and the rest of the management are very excited at the prospect of his being a part of the team for the next 15 years. Nothing is guaranteed of course, as there have been many players with promise who fail to kick on, but all the signs are good so far. I am right behind Compton opening for this series as he performed creditably in India but I'd certainly consider moving Root up if Compton doesn't assert himself. Root is an opener by trade after all and England do have several other good prospects for #6. As for Swann and his dodgy elbow, I really think that Panesar should play the third game if England are 2-0 up at that stage. They've got to get there first of course, which is far from guaranteed.

Posted by chapathishot on (March 3, 2013, 11:43 GMT)

Let Root get some hype as it is seldom seen like flower .Jokes apart, let him play for two years and then make him great,We have seen many future greats who never became permanent in team.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2013, 10:41 GMT)

Why are we so desperate for him to open? The lad's shown great ability down the order so far and I see no reason to do anything else with him than continue to bat down the order. Let Compton take the shine off the ball and let Root take root later on, for now at least. Typical England - pressure from outside (media and former players such as Michael Vaughan) trying to dictate what should be done. Let's leave him to it and let him mature a bit down the order

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (March 3, 2013, 10:07 GMT)

Root is very good. He is not just the next great Yorkshireman but a great player from England. He has everything that is needed to be a great No3 for England not an opener where they have Cook a great in his own right. England is on course to becoming No 1 again. Probably the Ashes will be the first big on their way.

Posted by FazleAbed on (March 3, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

Game of cricket is back again. High hope from Younis, Yuvraj, Kaif, Salman Butt, Sarwan, Ashraful was followed by AB, Clarke, KP and now we have Hasim Amla, Virat Kohli. I dont know cricket will found Dravid Ponting and Kalis at no. 3 in test but certainly can say Root and pujara look good.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2013, 8:47 GMT)

Having had a brief chat with Joe Root after his debut in India, I found him to be a level headed young man who was not at all phased by all the hype going on around him . He is an investment in the future and Flower is right to try and divert the pressure from him . I believe he will eventually play all formats of the game for England, but lets not forget that In India the wicket was flat and in New Zealand if he makes the test side he will have to face pace and seam on what could be a turning wicket, he will also I believe be batting down the order at seven, which is not his natural position.

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (March 3, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

i believe this is anohter period likes of 90s...| sachin | inzamam | Lara | Hick | Mark o | ..now | kohli | jamshed | .... | root | .... | with thier own strength and weakness...

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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