Aye Up, It’s Joe Root!
Joe started hitting sixes professionally in 2012 and has since become a major contestant in the world of cricket, watch this space!
He isn’t your average potato picker from Yorkshire, in fact, no batsman has scored more than Root’s 4,595 runs since he made his Test debut back in 2012, it’s fairly clear that Joe has most definitely got into the swing of things.
Luckily, Myprotein had the opportunity to catch up with the right-handed batsman.
Do you remember getting the call up for England?
I was in the car driving, the chairman selectors rang me up. I was on the M1 at the time and I had to pull over to the slow lane because I was far too excited to be in the outside lane. It was obviously a special moment, very exciting and I couldn’t believe it, I was only 21. I thought I would have some sort of chance, but to be honest it was wishful thinking more than anything else.
It’s taken a lot of hard work, dedication – ups and downs to get to the level you’re at now, did you always want to be a cricket player – or did you have any other career ambitions?
Absolutely, from being a tiny little kid, I and my brother would play in the garden, replicating a World Cup final or an Ashes Test match, it’s always been a massive ambition of mine.
The season has only just started, and although The Ashes is a while off – is it on your mind?
It’s always going to be in the back of your mind, as soon as I was made captain it was the first thing I thought about – when is the first opportunity to play Australia. You obviously want to play in the biggest tournaments and matches possible, so to get the opportunity to hopefully lead England in Australia is massive, I am really looking forward to it!
Cricket isn’t part of the school curriculum in numerous areas – do you think it should be?
There are a few programs being put in, including the Chance To Shine program, which has been really good over the past couple of years. They go into schools and try to teach children the basics of the game, there’s also the new All Stars program which has been launched very recently, hopefully, that will help more children become involved at a younger age. As a child, it’s great to have options and be able to say you’ve tried numerous sports whilst growing up and given opportunities.
Captaincy must bring some pressures, and although your grandfather describes you as “mad keen” – have there ever been any moments where you have felt like giving up?
I’ve always been mad keen! Cricket can be quite a frustrating game at times, you go through every emotion possible as you do in any other sport, but I have never felt like giving up. There have been some frustrating times along the way, but I suppose they’re the times which make your successful days even more enjoyable, without them, there is no real point in playing.
Playing for your country clearly means you do a lot of travelling around the world and have a lot of time away from your friends, family and new arrival – is it difficult?
It wasn’t easy when I had to go back out to India (after the birth of Alfie), 3 or 4 days later, I was back on the plane and playing cricket for 3 weeks, which was tough initially but it’s part and parcel of the sport now. We’re quite lucky that we do get opportunities where our families are allowed to come and join us, but our team is really close – they’re like family. People like Cookie, Jimmy Anderson and Stokes that have got young families too, they know what it’s like, so whenever I fell a little bit rough or homesick, you can always go any chat things through with them.
Cricket takes up a lot of your time, along with your newborn son – how do you switch off? Do you have any other hobbies?
As a side, we generally play lots of golf when we get the opportunity to, which can get quite competitive. Apart from that, we have a big Xbox contingency that plays on tour, although I’m not the strongest Fifa competitor.
I always take my guitar on tour with me. I love my music and always learn a new song whilst we’re away. I’m not the best singer, so I tend to just keep to the strings and nothing else.
What is your go-to snack/meal prior to pre and post-workout?
You often go back to Sheffield Collegiate which has already produced 1 England captain, Michael Vaughan. Where do you see your career leading to once you retire – do you see yourself coaching?
Very good question! I have no idea, I’d like to think it would still be in and around cricket. Potentially coaching, I would like to think I would still be involved in the game, I think it’s quite tough to say when you feel like you still have a lot of time.
You could say this stadium (Headingley) is home to you – but not many people have 17,500 people watching them at home – how does the crowd make you feel?
The first opportunity I had to play for England at home was when I gained my first test 100, it was quite a special occasion, it was a full house and it’s a day I will never forget. To be able to score a 100 on your home ground is right up there, something you could only dream about as a young boy. It will always hold a special memory for me.
Test days can be extremely long, tiring and well, interesting to say the least. During a recent test, your game was paused due to a young woman falling off her chair in the stands – do you often catch a glimpse of the crowd/fancy dress and fans?
Ha! That was on the big screen, it was really quite funny! It was a long, hard session so it was nice to get a bit of a laugh and a breather. There have been a few things like that, you get a lot of interaction with the crowd, especially if you’re fielding on the boundary. There are a few players which you have to remind them that they’re playing in the game and not part of the crowd, they can get really absorbed in the fans. When it’s a long day, it’s nice to clock on to a few characters in the crowd.
In a recent interview, you stated that a big part of your bowling is the mental side, would you say cricket is more mentally or physically demanding?
I think it’s pretty even. If you look at some of the fast bowlers and over the course of a test match and it can be equivalent as completing 2 marathons within 3 or 4 days. You’re obviously on your feet for a long period of time, potentially 5 days, so physically it’s not exactly high-intensity, but it hit you after a few days, you start to feel sore and stiff. Mentally, you’re out there for long periods of time and one small slip can ultimately change the game, so you feel like you have to be on it at all times, it’s hard work.
How often do you train? Is it always in the gym or do you mix things up a little?
It depends on the schedule really and whether we have games coming up. For example, we would train Monday, Tuesday, play a game on Wednesday, travel Thursday and train Friday, play Saturday and travel again on Sunday. When you get into competition season, the strength and conditioning are planned around match days and making sure that you’re not stiff and sore for the game days because it is quite a quick turnaround. The main aim is to improve performance, fitness and maintain the work you put in pre-season.