England’s Test captain Joe Root wants to be in the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup though he understands it is not going to be a cakewalk for one of the country’s finest batsmen in the game’s traditional format.
Root will be appearing in his 100 Test when he leads England in the series opening match against India from Friday.
The focus, for now, is the four-match Test series but the technically sound Root has not given up on his T20 ambitions, months after being ignored for a series against Australia at home.
“For me, the most important thing is that England go into that World Cup with the strongest squad and give ourselves the best chance of winning there, and hopefully, I can be a part of that squad,” Root said on BBC’s Test Match Special.
“… And if no then I will be backing those guys because it would be a huge achievement on the back of what we have achieved in 50 over world cup.”
The T20 World Cup is scheduled to be held in India later this year.
The 30-year-old Root, one of the world’s best batsmen in Test cricket, has so far scored 893 runs in 32 T20 Internationals with five half centuries at a strike rate of 126.3.
“Absolutely, I would love to be a part of that World Cup squad, I love playing all three formats, everything is a different challenge,” Root said.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to play a huge amount of T20 games in the last few years, but I am also aware of the guys who are playing some amazing cricket, they are brilliant players and fully deserve their chance.
“But if I get an opportunity, all I can do is try to score as many runs as I can when it comes to T20 games.”
Root, who has notched up very impressive numbers in Test cricket, in which he averages nearly 50, says doesn’t really lose his sleep over statistics.
“I have never really been one for numbers, I have been more about winning games and obviously if you are scoring big runs you are helping the team.
“More important is how many games you can really affect and home many games you can contribute and help England win. That’s always been my mindset, that will always be my mindset.
“Of course, at the end of my career, I will probably look at things slightly differently, but for now all I am concerned about is doing my part for the team and score as many runs as I can.”
Though he is on the verge of completing a century of Test matches, Root plans to carry on for a long time, taking inspiration from veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
“At the moment, the way I see things, is that I want to play as long as possible, I can’t see where it’s going to stop.
“The way Jimmy and Broady keep going and get better and better, they are an inspiration for someone like me. Hopefully that fire, that drive stays there in me and I can keep going.”
Root, who made his Test debut in India during England’s memorable series triumph in 2012, recalled his first day in the game in Nagpur.
“Once I walked out, I completely forgot the situation of the game and the magnitude of it.
“I was just so overwhelmed and happy and enjoying that moment, to get opportunities for England, play Test cricket, to be walking up to Kevin Pietersen at the other end, I just couldn’t stop smiling.
“I just took a little bit time to refocus, to stop thinking that Sachin Tendulkar stood at mid-off, and Kevin Pietersen watching at the other end, just really focussed on the job in hand, and thankfully, I managed to stay there for some time and help us get across the line.”
Root said he seems to have reached 100 Tests “rather quickly.”
“It feels like yesterday, walking around in Nagpur. Hopefully, it’s not the end of the journey, and there is plenty of games to come, and plenty of fantastic memories to make.”