All of Root’s six previous Tests have been as a middle-order batsman, with the 22-year-old’s average 42.40 — not bad for a fledgling international.
But Root opens for Yorkshire and England have decided to promote him to the top of the order alongside Cook for the opening match of their Ashes defence against Australia at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground starting today, after dropping Nick Compton from their squad.
Cook, who struck a century on Test debut against India in Nagpur, was confident Root could handle the transition, telling reporters at Trent Bridge yesterday: “It’s quite similar to what happened to myself really when I moved up from number three, although I had opened a couple of times in India.
“He (Root) is kind of thrown in there but he has handled himself in every situation fantastically well since he made his England debut.
“What has impressed everyone is he has always batted the situation fantastically well, whether it has been a one-day game where you need to score quickly or see the side home, he has managed to change his style for Twenty20 and Test matches as well.
I can see no reason why he can’t handle himself. He is a fantastic young player. “Yes he has got a huge amount of improvement to do but I think he will be absolutely fine.”