Root stays grounded ahead of first Test against New Zealand
Tuesday 26 Feb 2013 7:33 a.m.
England batsman Joe Root is blossoming on the New Zealand tour (Reuters)
By David Clough
Joe Root is playing it safe in New Zealand's adrenaline-rush capital, just to make sure he is ready for action if selected for his second England Test cricket cap.
Root impressed everyone with a determined half-century on debut to help England make history by completing a long-overdue series win in India in December.
Since that first taste of international cricket in Nagpur, the young Yorkshire batsman has added the Twenty20 and 50-over formats to his England CV - most recently in back-to-back series victories in New Zealand.
England have just one warm-up match in Queenstown to prepare for the first of three Tests next week, with Root a likely inclusion in the number six position he filled so well in India.
Runs will put him on course to retain his Test spot and with that in mind, he is not about to test his luck with the extracurricular activities offered in this part of the world.
Mountaineering, bungy jumping and water sports on Lake Wakatipu are all on offer to intrepid travellers.
Root, 22, however, is mindful of risk management - mostly thanks to the sensible stipulations of his employers about what is and is not advisable on an international cricket tour.
Even after his teammates had been cleared for a spot of canyon swinging - bungy jumping was off limits for all - Root opted instead for a round of golf.
"This is a fantastic place, great scenery, lots to do - just a shame we're not here for longer," he told Sky Sports News.
"We've got to be careful and there are a couple of things we've been told to stay away from.
"But there's still plenty for us to do."
On the field, Root is determined to do the opposite and make the most of his opportunities at the start of a year of back-to-back Ashes series.
So far, he has done himself no harm at all with three one-day international half-centuries and no completed innings under 30 from seven visits to the crease in that format.
"We've played some really good cricket, winning both the Twenty20s and one-dayers which is what we set out to do," he said of England's campaign.