The England Ashes squad already faced unusual preparation circumstances thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic with the interruptions it’s caused, but now it’s the Brisbane weather that’s preventing them from getting some practice at the crease.
With the first Ashes Test at the Gabba now a matter of days away, the England camp has struggled to be able to train and prepare as a collective for multiple reasons.
First, it was mandated quarantine, and now it’s simply poor weather. England captain Joe Root is frustrated by the situation but remains adamant the squad will continue to prepare the best way they can.
“It’s been unusual having to spend a period of time in quarantine, and training within that quarantine faze, and then coming to Brisbane and the weather being as it has been, we haven’t had that three-day game as we would’ve liked,” Root told media on Monday.
“Ultimately, it was always going to be the case on the back of this World Cup, that (Tuesday) would be the first that day that we’d be together as a squad, with those World Cup guys joining us.
“We always knew that this next period of time was gonna be the most crucial part in terms of doing everything we can collectively together, getting tight, getting clear, and using this as best we can to ready ourselves.
“I think that’s gonna be the real test for us, we’ve done a lot of brilliant planning the last couple of years, coming into this, mentally and how can we ready, what’s gonna work on different surfaces, and different grounds and have a real good idea of how we’re gonna break down their team.
“It has been unusual and different to a lot of previous tours, whether that be here or elsewhere. But the guys have really taken their opportunities to get as much as they can from what they’ve had and that’s all you really can do in these situations.”
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Furthermore, Root is determined to not let Australia’s emergency captaincy change affect his team, attempting to convince the England squad to not let themselves be distracted by what’s happening in their opposition’s camp.
“From my point of view it doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t change how we’re gonna prepare, the fact that we’ll respect them as a team, and what they will bring to this series.
“I think more than anything I don’t want us a team to get sidetracked by what’s happening in their camp, it’s really important that we focus on ourselves, we ready ourselves as best we can.
“There’s been a lot of other distractions for us, in terms of the weather and our preparations, so it’s really important that this next lead into the game we get absolutely right, that we get much from it as we can, and we’re in the best position to hit the ground running when that ball down.”
This summer will be the third time Joe Root has captained England through an Ashes series, however, he has never faced the Australian captain twice.
Steve Smith was the captain the first time Root captained in an Ashes, losing in Australia, before failing to win back the urn when Tim Paine led Australia in the 2019 series in England.
Root didn’t have much to say about bowler captains but will respect Pat Cummins based on their previous meetings.
“Playing against Pat, I know what a competitor he is, what he brings to the game and to their team, I expect him to do just that as a captain as well.”
Nearing four years since the urn last belonged in England permanently, and with Root yet to win the Ashes as captain, the drive to do so, is stronger than ever.
“I know what it’s like to be on the wrong side of these series’ out here. It’s my dream, as an England player, to play in Australia and win, that’s the dream.
“We feel like we have a brilliant opportunity ahead of us, and we prepare this as well as we can if we can control our emotions, if we can play to our skill levels and if we can be smart in certain situations, and do things differently to how we’ve done them previously, then I believe we’ve got a brilliant chance to do something special here.”
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