England face Cricket Australia XI in their final warm-up match before the first Ashes Test on November 23
Joe Root admits he was taken off guard on his maiden Ashes tour and is determined to learn from the mistakes of 2013/14.
At 26, Root returns as England captain to a country where he found out the hard way in a 5-0 whitewash defeat that Australia can be an unforgiving place if you are not quite ready for the experience.
The Yorkshireman is confident he is returning wiser as well as older, though, in pursuit of the urn again.
As Root prepared for England’s final warm-up match in Townsville, against a Cricket Australia XI for the second week in succession, he knows he could and should have done things differently four years ago.
“I don’t know whether that might have been slightly unfair on the rest of the side,” he said.
“(But) I think me personally, I wasn’t [ready].”
He found himself rushed, and paid the price as a still novice international batsman when he was dropped for the final Test in Sydney.
“Everything seemed to happen quite quickly,” he added.
“I think one thing for me (this time) will be making sure the game is played at my pace, trying to be nice and calm and collected out in the middle â and feel really ready for that aspect of Test cricket, which you do experience here in Australia.”
Root is back, of course, as one of the most prolific runscorers in international cricket.
He is not above recalling his tough experiences, though, to help himself and others in his team.
“I think conversations about last time can be healthy, if they’re done in the right way, and I think more than anything you’ve got to look at it as a huge opportunity,” he said.
“It’s almost against all the odds, isn’t it? You’re in their backyard â everyone in the ground seems to think that they’re playing for Australia, and they’ll do everything they can to help their side.
“You’ve got the opportunity to upset that, go and do something really special, playing for your country, Ashes series, lot of history â you want to be a part of that.
“That’s the way I want to approach it.”
He has heard countless times since arriving in Australia again two weeks ago that the hosts will target him, from the outset in Brisbane next week, in their quest to regain the Ashes after England’s home win in 2015.
It is a statement which nonetheless slightly bemuses him.
Asked what the Australians mean, he said: “I don’t really know – you go into every series expecting you’re going to get targeted, as a batter.
“People are going to look at your technique, look at ways you’ve got out and try to work out what’s the best way to combat you scoring runs.
“I don’t see how that will be any different from any other series. I think it’s something they use as a tool sometimes, to try to get the crowd and the public behind it, try to get on my back verbally.
“If they’re wasting energy trying harder at me, then I hope that works well for the rest of the guys.”England (v Cricket Australia XI at Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville): JE Root (Captain), MD Stoneman, AN Cook, JM Vince, DJ Malan, JM Bairstow (wkt), MM Ali, CR Woakes, C Overton, SCJ Broad, MS Crane
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