Darren Gough has hailed Joe Root’s qualities on and off the field at the start of what could very well be a record-breaking year for the Yorkshire and England star.

Root is preparing for England’s Test tour of India, a five-match affair beginning in Hyderabad on January 25.

It is the first of a possible 16 Test Matches this year, both at home and abroad, and Root is only 1,056 runs behind Sir Alastair Cook, who is England’s leading Test Match run-scorer with 12,472. 

“He’s going to be the top Test run-scorer for England by a mile – there’s no doubt about that,” said ex-England fast bowler Gough, Yorkshire’s managing director of cricket. 

“Joe’s family is a real cricket family, and they’ll be proud when he achieves that. And so will we because he’s part of our family here at Yorkshire.”

In preparation for the Indian tour, which is preceded by a training camp in Abu Dhabi for the England squad, Root was netting with Yorkshire’s squad at Headingley at the start of last week when he was tested by his county team-mates.

Joe Root

Picture by YCCC. Joe Root nets at Headingley last week as Will Luxton watches on.

He also spent time talking to young batter Will Luxton. 

“We all know that Rooty’s an absolute gun,” said Gough. “He’s a brilliant player, a brilliant bloke.

“He was in with us practicing, and fair play to our bowlers, they bowled well at him and gave him a proper test. Our bowlers are in good nick at the minute, and it was people like Milnesy and Cliffy. They really charged in at him.

“He was here for three hours, including spending some time with Luxy. That’s the type of guy that he is.”

Gough continued: “It’s just a pleasure to watch him in the middle or in the nets because he’s world class. When you see that movements all in sync and sharp, that’s the real Joe Root.

“After a bit of time off, he’ll take a few sessions to get to that. But England go to Abu Dhabi for a training camp, and I’d expect him to be at his best come that first Test in Hyderabad.”

Managing Director of Cricket Darren Gough speaking to the media

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Yorkshire’s managing director of cricket Darren Gough.

After the Indian tour, which runs through to mid-March, Root will have some time off before starting the home summer in Yorkshire colours in the LV= Insurance County Championship.

He has opted against returning to the Indian Premier League for a second successive season with Rajasthan Royals, instead telling the county of his intentions to pull on the white rose.

Root, 33, is currently out of England’s T20 plans – they have a World Cup in the Caribbean and the USA through June, so therefore is unlikely to have any international commitments until the first Test of the home summer against the West Indies at Lord’s on July 10.

Before then, Yorkshire play Division Two Championship matches and the first half of their Vitality Blast campaign.

“He won’t play all of our matches, but hopefully it will be a good number of them,” said Gough.

Picture by YCCC. Joe Root, preparing for his tour of India, talks to Will Luxton in the Headingley nets last week.

“The situation will be, they have the Test series and then he’ll have a break.

“It might not be the first few (that he plays), but it could be from something like round three or four of the Championship and then maybe even the T20s as well.

“That will be interesting because there’s obviously a possibility that Malan won’t go to the World Cup. We could have Lyth, Malan, Masood and Root in our top order.”

If that is the case, for Yorkshire’s regulars, the chance to play with Root will be something to look forward to. After all, it is one thing learning from the greats in training like last week, but another learning from them in match situations.

“Absolutely. Whenever you play with world-class players, it improves and pushes you,” said Gough.

England head to India to tackle the number two side in the ICC’s world Test rankings. Australia are top and England third.

Root and Brook

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Harry Brook and Joe Root batting together during last year’s Headingley Ashes Test. 

“It’s going to be a difficult tour,” said Gough. 

“They’re not going to places like Mumbai and Chennai, they’re going to the outgrounds if you like at Ranchi and Hyderabad.

“It will be interesting to see whether they’ll be dominated by spin. That’s what you would think given the quality India have in that area. But I wouldn’t put all my money on that because India have such a good pace attack as well.

“They have all options covered; left-armers, out and out pace, bowlers with unique actions, good yorker bowlers. They’ve almost got the perfect team in many ways. 

“It’s always going to be a difficult tour, and England have to step up to the mark.

“If they can, it will be England’s best achievement under McCullum and Stokes.

Darren Gough speaking to sponsors at an event at Headingley

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com – 16/02/2022. Darren Gough holds court at a Headingley corporate event. 

“The toss will be so important. If you can win the toss, bat first and bat well, there’s a good chance you win the game.

“We have inexperienced spin, but that could be a blessing because they could go over there and surprise India a bit. The lad at Somerset is a real talent, for example, Shoaib Bashir. He bowls attacking lines outside off and turns it.”

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