England’s Joe Root concentrates on West Indies not Lord’s pitch fungus

first_imgA series decider against West Indies it may be, along with a chance for England’s less than secure batsmen to seal an Ashes berth, but on the eve of the Lord’s Test, Joe Root found himself fielding questions about fungus.The home of cricket is hosting a Test in September for the first time and in keeping with lawns all over the country, autumnal weather has brought the appearance of “fairy rings” on the turf, including one patch on the pitch, a metre in diameter and just short of a length.Spores from fungus are the cause and, though Marylebone Cricket Club are unconcerned about it adversely affecting how the surface will play, Root said: “I have no idea whether it will make any difference. Whether it is just a visual blemish, or whether it will have an impact, we’ll have to wait and see.” news Support The Guardian Asked if it could at least prove a visual distraction for the batsmen in the middle, he politely replied: “It depends whether you are looking at the ball.”More pressing on Root’s mind is completing his second series win as the England captain this summer. He claimed this winter’s Ashes tour remains far from his thoughts but the chosen XI have nevertheless presented Toby Roland-Jones with a golden chance to force his way in for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane on 23 November.Chris Woakes, the seamer to miss out, lacked pace in the defeat at Headingley following his two-month layoff with a side strain. A shortage of overs was the general diagnosis and although he bowled 33 in the second Test and a further eight on T20 Finals Day, Root has still opted for local knowledge of Roland-Jones on his home ground.The Middlesex player has claimed 14 wickets in his first three Tests this summer and on the subject of who is now first choice, Root replied: “The way [Woakes] has played for England over the last year or so and such a focal point of our team it is hard to look past that and when someone like Toby comes in and does as well as he has, it is a great problem to have.”Either way, both quicks are Australia-bound but which batsmen make the touring party is less certain. Tom Westley, the Essex No3, feels in need of a significant score to press his claims after one half-century in seven innings, while Dawid Malan and Mark Stoneman are similarly striving to nail down their spots.Root’s advice? “The best way to look at it for any player is any time you go out and play for England it is an opportunity to do something very special. As much as possible you want guys to have that attitude. Hopefully [Westley] can show the strong character he has as a person.“One of the biggest challenges coming from county cricket is there is not a lot of analysis and feedback available. You generally get a laptop and watch back your innings but you do not get all the different camera angles and the exposure international cricket gives you.“That is something you have to deal with. People have their opinions on how you play. It’s about trying to find a way of overcoming that, going out there, knowing your own game and being strong enough to trust that, so you know if you are at your best, you will be successful in this arena.” England cricket team … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share via Email Topics England’s third Test decider against West Indies carries unexpected intrigue Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApp Read morecenter_img Share on Twitter Cricket West Indies cricket team Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Since you’re here… Joe Root Reuse this content Share on Messenger England v West Indies 2017last_img read more