Joe Root wants to see England develop ruthless streak

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Joe Root is back at his home ground this week as a satisfied England Test captain that wants his team to develop a ruthless streak.

England face West Indies in the second Investec Test at Headingley and will be led in Yorkshire by Sheffield-born Root for the first time since he replaced Alastair Cook in February.

Root presided over a 3-1 series victory over South Africa earlier this summer before skippering England to a dominant innings-and-209-run victory over the Windies at Edgbaston last week.

The 26-year-old has therefore seen little reason to unleash a rollicking on his colleagues so far, not that he would be afraid to spell out some home truths if needed despite being just the second youngest member of the XI.

“We’ll have to wait and see when it arises,” Root admitted. “I think it’s important that the lads are clear if you’re upset with something they know about it and it doesn’t fester.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the sort of bloke that will go out there with a hair-dryer and give someone a massive spray but we know as a side how things should be done, and I think we’re generally on the ball when it comes to making sure we’re all pulling in the same direction.

“We’re playing some really good cricket so that does help. I think the challenge is to continue to try and do that.”

Root was introduced to the less appealing side of captaincy when he informed Toby Roland-Jones that he would be axed in favour of the fit-again Chris Woakes for the second Test.

Middlesex seamer Roland-Jones has taken 14 wickets in his three Tests, including a five-for on debut, but Woakes enjoyed a fine summer last year with bat and ball to ensure he returned once over a side strain.

“It was a very difficult decision to make, with Toby having come in and put in some strong performances but it is important that Woakesy gets some game time in,” Root noted.

“It is a great chance for him to prove himself and come back into the side with a strong performance.

“He has been phenomenal for us. His record last year for us was outstanding. His challenge will be to back that up.”

Momentum was something England failed to pick up after winning the first Test in their previous series as South Africa responded to their mauling at Lord’s by thrashing the hosts by 340 runs in the second Test.

The odds on an inexperienced Windies side doing likewise are longer but Root is keen for his team to learn from how it went wrong at this stage of the previous series.

“After a strong performance last week it is vitally important that we back that up,” he insisted.

“Earlier on in the summer at Trent Bridge we didn’t play as well as we could have after a really strong start to that series against South Africa. Having that mentality of going out and backing that up and trying to gain some momentum and consistency moving ahead is really important.

“I think it’s just having that mentally of being ruthless and at no point easing off the gas when we get into a position of strength. When we feel like we’re on top we have to keep driving that forward.”

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