Chennai: India’s recent Test series win in Australia has given touring sides confidence to win away from home, including England who have a great opportunity to do well in India with the amount of quality players they have in the squad, said England captain Joe Root on Thursday.
“A lot of sides will look at that series that happened in Australia and take huge amounts of confidence from it. Huge credit to India for going there and winning. It is a very difficult place to win. We all know that. But teams will see that and we will see that it is possible to win away from home. There will be a lot of pressure on sides hosting,” said Root during a virtual interaction with the media on the eve of the first Test to be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
India had won the Test series in Australia despite injuries to players. England too have started the series on a similar note with Zak Crawley, who was to bat at No. 3, ruled out of the first two Tests due to wrist injury.
“There are so many great opportunities that come with that as a side and as individual players. When you are given a chance to play, you’ve got to just maximise that opportunity. You try and make that count. One thing we have had in the recent past is competition for places. Bit more depth in our squad and not heavily reliant on certain individuals which might have been the case a few years ago. It is really exciting times and guys need to grasp the opportunities they get,” he added.
Root, who did not share Crawley’s replacement at No. 3, will be crucial for England innings. He single-handedly carried his side’s batting in the two-Test series in Sri Lanka, accumulating over 400 runs. Against India, however, he will be faced with a threat of Ravichandran Ashwin on his home ground.
Ashwin had got the better of Steve Smith in the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar series which India won 2-1.
But Root said that he would try neither attack nor play defensively against the ace India off-spinner and will be playing each ball on its merit.
“(I will) Just try and play him — what I see in front of me. I won’t go out there to dominate or defend. I will just play the ball that is delivered and if I do that well enough for a period of time, I feel I can score some runs,” said Root.
He lavished praise on Ashwin but said that he isn’t the only one in India line-up.
“He (Ashwin) is a fine bowler. He has got some great record in India. He is probably full of confidence on the back of that (Australia) series. I have played against him before. He has had the better of me a couple of times as well. There will be a great little battle within the Test match. But ultimately if you are going to score big runs in any series, you have to play all of them. Just having that ball-by-ball mentality is certainly the best,” said Root.
The England captain, when asked about Cheteshwar Pujara, said the India No. 3 will be an important wicket for the visitors.
“You see the importance he (Pujara) adds to the Indian team and he is going to be a huge wicket for us. There is no doubt. For us, at times it might be that we have to be be patient and play the long game and see if we can be as mentally strong as he is at the crease, when we are out there on the field,” said Root who will be playing his 100th Test.