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Joe Root backing attack-minded England to refresh Test cricket

J

oe Root believes that England’s attacking brand of Test cricket can be just as powerful a gateway drug for the next generation of cricket fans as the Hundred.

Yesterday England completed a series win over South Africa their sixth victory out of seven Tests this summer under the new leadership duo of captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

It has been a rapid turnaround, given England won just one of their last 17 Tests under Root’s captaincy, which ended when he resigned in April.

The transformation has been built on an attacking brand of cricket that has proved popular with fans and successful on the field.

Root believes that the longest form of the game can attract new fans to the sport just as effectively as the Hundred, the ECB’s controversial short-form tournament that is designed specifically to get children on board. Root represents Trent Rockets in the Hundred, which had its second edition this year.

“To come out and play the way we have this summer has been awesome,” said Root. “I’m really excited and hopefully off the back of it we can encourage and get people really excited about Test cricket, young kids etc.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the Hundred as a great opportunity to get people into the game. Well, there’s no reason why Test cricket can’t do that, either.

“You turn up and watch Ollie Pope trying to reverse sweep a 6ft 8ins bowler to try to win a Test match. You’ve got guys running in and bowling spells like Ollie Robinson has and how Jimmy [Anderson] and Broady [Stuart Broad] bowled on Sunday. I’d like to think people will want to turn in and watch that and get involved in cricket through this format as well.”

Root believes England are not “one-trick ponies” and that their approach can be translated to overseas conditions, such as in Pakistan in December.

“We’ll certainly try, give it a go,” he said. “At Old Trafford [against South Africa], you saw a different side to this team, a side that can absorb pressure, can play in a slightly different fashion.

“We’re not just a one-trick pony. There’s always going to be periods in Test cricket that you have to manage well and smartly. We’ve not got it right every time this summer but we’ve got it right more often than not and that’s why we’re sat here with six out of seven.”

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