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Joe Root plans to continue “living my dream” by lining up for his first Test appearance on his home ground of Headingley.
The 22-year-old established himself in the England side with some exceptionally mature displays on tour in New Zealand and India, then made important scores of 40 and 71 on his home debut at Lord’s last week.
That contributed to England’s 170-run win over the Black Caps and Sheffield-born Root is hoping for another memorable match when he lines up at his Yorkshire base on Friday.
He has been coming to the stadium for well over a decade, as both player and fan, and is ready to play his own part in the ground’s international history.
“Lord’s was obviously a very enjoyable experience, especially winning and being part of such an exciting last day…it was brilliant,” he said.
“It was a great experience and I loved every minute of it. But this is my home ground, I’ve grown up watching cricket and playing here so it’s obviously got connections which are quite close to me.
“You watch the game and as a kid your dream is to play for England and be a part of all that. It’s something that spurs you on and I just want to keep living my dream really and making the most of it.
“It will be very enjoyable I’m sure, and I look forward to getting out there.
“To get the opportunity to play here now is really exciting. There’s been some fantastic games here over the years and hopefully we can have another one this week.”
Root recalls being intimidated the first time he arrived as a youngster at Headingley, but has clearly grown in self-confidence since then.
His hallmark since being drafted into the England side for a decisive Test in Nagpur has been an unflappable poise at the crease, whether being charged with batting for time in the longer format or playing the role of strokemaker in the 50-over game.
England expect more of the same this week, as Root prepares to follow in the footsteps of his own Headingley heroes.
“I was probably about 10 or so the first time I came here; it was for a Yorkshire trial or something like that,” he recalled.
“I was probably quite nervous and very small. But since then it has always been quite a special place and hopefully that will continue.
“I remember coming up here and watching a lot of games as a young lad and seeing some of my heroes play.
“I remember coming to a Test match here when I was quite young and Sachin Tendulkar was playing against England. Obviously then there’s Michael Vaughan, who I grew up watching as a kid and I just remember it being a really enjoyable experience.
“In the County Championship I’d watch people like Darren Lehmann, Anthony McGrath, Jacques Rudolph…great players who I’ve always looked up to. So to get the opportunity to play here in an international game is very exciting.”
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