Joe Root plans to drop back to his favoured No. 4 spot in the England batting order for the Test series against New Zealand - and stay there.
Root moved up one place to No. 3 most recently during the drawn Ashes series over the English summer, scoring 325 runs at an average of 32.50. It was expected before the tour of New Zealand that Root would return to No. 4 and he batted there in the first warm-up match in Whangarei.
"I'd like to be consistent with it now, moving forward," he told the BBC. "It doesn't always work exactly how you want it to but it would be nice for that to be the case.
"I just think it suits my game a little bit more. It definitely fits in with captaincy a little bit better for me.
"I know previous captains have preferred to get out there early and just get amongst it but I quite like to split the two and to really focus on my batting. I've found over time that, generally, I've consistently played better in that position."
Root had batted at No. 3 previously, spending much of 2016 there before he was captain, although he reverted to No. 4 as soon as he took on the leadership. He returned to No. 3 during the English summer of 2018 but struggled for runs and dropped back down again. Overall, he averages 38.12 batting at first drop and 48.39 while batting at No. 4.
The side selected for the second warm-up match, also in Whangarei, starting on Friday, is expected to mirror the first Test line-up.
Root's move back down the order would mean Joe Denly also moves down a spot to No. 3 after recovering from an ankle injury that ruled him out of the T20 series in New Zealand. Denly would likely replace Zak Crawley, who scored a century in his first innings as an England player during the tour match earlier this week, with Rory Burns set to open alongside debutant Dom Sibley.
"We haven't officially picked a team yet," Root said of the side to face a New Zealand XI in the final warm-up fixture. "As you'd expect, the majority of that will go and play the first Test match."
Root suggested he felt in much improved form with the bat going into the Test series against New Zealand.
"I've done quite a lot of work on my batting over the last month and feel there's been quite a significant shift in certain areas of it," Root said. "And when you're not concerned about areas of your game that unlocks a lot of things as well. You have the clarity and clear mind to just go and play. So hopefully that'll play a big part starting from this series and then I can go and get some big runs."
Meanwhile, Root also reiterated his determination to reclaim a place in England's T20I team but he accepted that, if he cannot win selection, it probably reflects well on the strength of the side.
With Dawid Malan, rated No. 3 in the T20I rankings, and Tom Banton among those now vying for selection, Root's place in the side is no longer guaranteed. And while his teammates benefit from playing in various T20 leagues, Root is not in the same demand and has a busy schedule that presents few such opportunities.
But Root has no thoughts of shelving his T20 ambitions and remains committed to the T20 World Cup in a year's time.
"I know what I can offer the team," Root said. "And if I'm not part of that best team I'll drive myself to improve and get in it. So my goal is to try to make sure I'm in the best XI.
"But I want to see England win. Ultimately it's about us winning World Cups. And if there are guys coming in and performing, then that's great for England cricket. You want competition for places going into a World Cup. One of the great things about the 50-over team is that there have, for a while, been a number of guys who could come into the team and there would be a seamless fit. You want that across the board."