Joe Root ‘realistic’ on T20 World Cup ambitions for 2021

Joe Root has said he is “quite realistic” about the difficulties he will face breaking into England’s first-choice T20I side ahead of next year’s World Cup in India.

Since top-scoring in the 2016 World T20 final – a tournament in which he was England’s run-scorer, and memorably cracked a 44-ball 83 in a successful chase of 230 against South Africa – Root has made only 23 T20 appearances, with a law of opportunities in the format costing him a place in the England side.

After leaving the Test bubble following the third Test against Pakistan, Root was due to play his first T20 for Yorkshire since July 2018 and only his second since August 2016 in their Vitality Blast opener against Nottinghamshire on Thursday night. But persistent rain put paid to that, and Root told the club’s website that he was disappointed to have missed a rare chance to impress.

“It’s disappointing we couldn’t get out there,” Root said. “I’ve been really looking forward to this. I’ve been desperate to play as much cricket as I can because, at the start of the summer, it didn’t feel like we were going to play any.

“There’s uncertainty as to how much cricket we’ll play this winter as well. There’s definitely going to be plenty of time to rest, recuperate and stay mentally fresh ahead of potentially a busy back end of the winter.”

Root said that he had not given up on his ambitions to play in the 2021 T20 World Cup, and said that he would “do everything I can” to press for a spot in the side.

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“I’m not giving up on it at all, but I’m quite realistic in terms of where I am within the shake-up of things at the moment,” he said. “I want England to do well. I want us to go to World Cups and win.

“If I’m not in the best eleven or the best squad, so be it. I’ll support whoever’s involved all the way through. I know how hard selection is, and if there are better options than me that’s part of international sport. I’m fully aware of that.

“But I’ll certainly do everything I can with the limited opportunities I will have to force a case.”

Root also admitted that he had been “frustrated” by the long gaps between his appearances in the shortest format.

“I’ve not had many opportunities to play T20 at all in the last couple of years,” he said. “It’s been a little bit frustrating, but it’s been no-one’s fault. I’m certainly not upset or disappointed or bitter about anything, it’s just the way it’s fallen.

“Probably because of it, I’ve lost my place within the England side, and that can happen in cricket. It would be nice to get an opportunity to play some games and try and stake a claim to force my way back into that squad.

“But it’s a very talented team, and you look at the strength within it and the players in possession, they’re all fantastic players in that format. It’s great to see England in such a strong position in that respect.”

Root could be involved in Yorkshire’s next fixture – at home to Derbyshire on Sunday – depending on England’s selection for the white-ball series against Australia in September.

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