Joe Root reaffirms that he does not recall witnessing any racism at Yorkshire

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Root admitted that England’s preparations for the Ashes, which begin in Brisbane on December 8, have been disrupted by the weather in Brisbane. England’s opening warm-up match against the England Lions was restricted to 29 overs because of rain, and the forecast is also not promising for their final warm-up game, a four-day affair that begins on Tuesday morning down under.

The match will not be first-class, with England trying to get as much meaningful game-time into their first-choice players ahead of the Ashes. The five members of the T20 World Cup squad who are in the Ashes squad will be able to feature.

“It might be that, in the next couple of days, we get some similar weather and we don’t get the time out there in the middle,” Root said. “But it’s really important that – whether you play those games in your mind a little bit more, visualise a little bit more, – you find different ways of making sure that, when that first ball comes down at the Gabba, we’re in the best place possible.

“This is a really good chance for us to get ahead of things, maybe get ahead of Australia in terms of preparation and game-time ahead of the series, and it would be silly for us to just cosy our way through the four days. It has to be good hard proper cricket that we’ll benefit from, going into the first Test.”

Root is particularly relishing the return of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes, who came through a scare when he was hit in the arm in training on Monday.

“To see Ben get hit like that was obviously a scary moment. We all know how crucial he is within our squad but he seems to have come through it pretty well.

“It’s going to be really important that he gets himself ready both physically and mentally for this series and to play a big part in it.”

Root is optimistic that England can regain the urn Down Under, a feat that no England side has managed since 1970/71.

“I know exactly what it is like to be on the wrong side of a series out here. It is a dream, isn’t it? For an England player to play in Australia and win is the dream. The cherry on top, if you like. We feel we have a brilliant opportunity ahead of us. We’ve prepared as well as we can for now. If we can control our emotions, play to our skill levels, if we can be smart in certain situations and do things differently to how we’ve done them previously, I believe we have a brilliant chance to do something special here.”

Root said Pat Cummins’s appointment as Australia captain, to replace Tim Paine, would have no bearing on how England prepared for the series.

“It doesn’t change how we are going to prepare, it doesn’t change how we respect them as a team and what they will bring to this series. I think more than anything I don’t want us as a team to get side-tracked by what is happening in their camp.”

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