Joe Root has provided ecb.co.uk with a rare and informative insight into what one of the world’s best batsmen does to prepare himself for a Test match.
The 25-year-old spoke to our cameras in the lead-up to the third Test against South Africa – where he would score his ninth Test century – where he detailed the key areas he works on ahead of match.
Top of the Yorkshireman’s list is ensuring his footwork is at its sharpest by facing a high volume of balls while he also works on his trigger movements to ensure he feels confident his game is ready to go to face the likes of the world’s top-ranked team.
“In the actual nets we probably spend half-and-hour to 45 minutes each individual batter. I think the bowlers will spend a little time less than that,” he said.
“For me it is about a lot of volume, trying to hit as many balls as I can and trying to get my footwork sharp and get in really good strong positions ahead of this week.”
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On a day before a Test England’s players are allowed to individualise their training and work on the areas they believe will help them best prepare.
Root likes to face deliveries thrown from the dog stick – a plastic lever that help thrown the ball faster – to get himself in his groove and spent an hour with Batting Coach mark Ramprakash the day before the game.
“Again that was about trying to get my footwork right and my pre-delivery movement as consistent as possible having had a few days off and over these past three days making sure that’s in the best place possible – especially the day before the game,” he said.
“That’s known as your own personal day to treat how you want to prepare and make sure you get everything you want out of it.
“It’s a good mixture, I think sometimes it’s very healthy to be given a task or a challenge from the coaches so that you are always looking to be getting something out of the session and then you’re not always just looking to feel good – you have a way of training throughout a performance-based period as well.”
Preparation before a Test match is not just about the individual, however, with the lpayers batting alongside each other in the nets.
Root batted alongside his captain Alastair Cook and he feels the idea helps to promote an understanding of what their team-mates are working and which helps to build a partnership between each other before they even get in the middle.
“It’s always nice to bat with Cooky,” he said.
“It’s important that we work together in the nets as well and I think it’s healthy so that when we’re out in the middle we know what each other are working on and what our strengths are and when someone does something well we can give them a pat on the back and a cheeky smile in the middle and you always feel as though you are working together.
“If you can have that in practice and then when you get out into the middle you’ve almost already simulated that when you’re out there against the opposition.”