Joe Root itching to win Ashes, but World Cup comes first
Joe Root cannot wait to lead England against Australia at home. © AFP

Joe Root is hopeful of England‘s success at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup proving a massive lift ahead of the Ashes, where he will lead the Test team for the first time against Australia at home.

“It will be very special,” said Root on captaining England. “The hairs stand up on your arms just thinking about it. But there’s so much cricket to be played between now and then, that it would be wrong to look too far ahead to those opening days and all of those little intricacies that come with an Ashes series.

“Most importantly, you’ve got to get some runs early season – give yourself a load of confidence going into what is going to be an amazing summer.

“[Hosting the World Cup] is obviously very exciting. At this time of the season, after having a bit of time off, very quickly your mind starts switching to what’s to come. Hopefully we’ll be on a flier after a brilliant World Cup. Ultimately when those Test matches come round, we know we’re going to have to be absolutely ready for them.”

England followed a landmark 3-0 Test sweep in Sri Lanka by losing to West Indies 1-2, a loss that Root felt was a wake-up call. Having lost the Ashes in 2017-18, Root is confident of the team’s chances this summer. (READ: Morgan channels ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ for England)

England suffered a Test series defeat in the West Indies.
England suffered a Test series defeat in the West Indies. © AFP

“It was tough,” he said of the loss to West Indies . “The first two games we certainly underperformed. But it was really important that we played to our potential in St Lucia, and we did that fantastically well. And look at the winter as a whole and compare it to the previous winter where we didn’t win a game; to come away with four wins out of six was a fantastic turnaround. (READ: England need to perform under pressure to win the World Cup: Hales)

“It shows the improvement and development of the team over the last couple of years. Hopefully we can take that confidence forward into what is sure to be a massive finish to the summer. It’s really important we stay very grounded, don’t look too far ahead and continue to look to get better all the time.

After the Test series loss to West Indies, England were held to a 2-2 draw in the ODIs to end a run of nine series wins in a row. They have eight ODIs before the World Cup starts on May 30 – against Ireland, Australia and Afghanistan – and Root felt the team was in a good spot.

“[The West Indies tour] was obviously an opportunity to put together a string of good performances coming into a World Cup,” he said. “I think it’s really important that we take on board what happened, and we come into this summer full of confidence.

“We’re an experienced side now and we will have learned from that. But it’s a nice little reminder for us almost that we can’t become complacent and we’ve just got to continue to keep looking to get better. We’ve played some great stuff over the last couple of years and shown that we’re a very good side in our own conditions.”