England's Joe Root brings the Sheffield steel

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013
Joe Root
Photosport
MATURE INNINGS: Joe Root celebrates after guiding England to victory in the second ODI against New Zealand in Napier.

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Now we see what all the fuss was about with this cricketing prodigy from Sheffield named Joe Root.

While the surname might cause commentators to take an extra breath and utter their sentences with caution into the microphone, one former England captain is bullish about where the baby-faced 22-year-old is headed.

"One day Joe Root will captain England," wrote fellow Yorkshireman Michael Vaughan, after his fellow Sheffield native struck a mature 73 on test debut against India in Nagpur in December.

Eleven years ago Vaughan came to New Zealand under the captaincy of Nasser Hussain and blazed the ball all over Eden Park in an ODI.

Root now seems to be mirroring Vaughan's progression, with his dominant unbeaten 79 off 56 balls in England's win in Napier on Wednesday in his seventh ODI.

"The similarities with my cricket career are uncanny," Vaughan wrote in the Telegraph.

"He started down the order for Yorkshire, and is now opening the batting. And, like me, he has started down the order for England but I'm sure he will end up opening.

"He uses the same bats and even bowls offspin. We have a similar temperament. I am his hero, which is stupid because I'm a mate. Joe will be a hero to my lad."

On Wednesday, Root strode to the crease with 121 required off 18.1 overs. He quickly owned McLean Park, moving about the crease and clipping the white ball to all parts including two effortless sixes. There was some luck, with dropped catches by Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor, but this was still a class act.

"He's busy, almost Australian-like with his presence at the crease. He calls very loud and puts a lot of pressure on the fielders as well," McCullum said.

Root will play the three-test series against New Zealand, starting in Dunedin on March 6, and probably bat at No 6 with Kevin Pietersen to slot in at four.

Skipper Alastair Cook was surprised by his young team-mate's audacity on an admittedly belting pitch in Napier against a New Zealand attack which didn't cause too many problems.

"Yes he has [surprised me]. Especially that knock, he played shots which I didn't know he could play," Cook said.

"A lot of playing international cricket is about temperament and how you can handle yourself and he's certainly showing the right attitude and being able to handle pressure."

Name: Joe Root

Born: December 30, 1990 in Sheffield

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Teams: Yorkshire, England

Style: Right-hand batsman, right-arm offspinner

Test career (debut v India in Nagpur, December 2012): 1 match, 93 runs at 93.00, highest score 73

ODI career (debut v India in Rajkot, January 2013): 7 matches, 298 runs at 74.50, HS 79no, strike rate 93

First-class career: 37 matches, 2108 runs at 39.03, HS 222no, 4x100

Future star: "One day Joe Root will captain England," says former skipper Michael Vaughan.

- The Dominion Post

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