30 Nov 2021, 09:44

England can do 'something special' despite disrupted build-up - Root

 BRISBANE, Australia, Nov 30, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Joe Root is confident that
England can do "something special" in the Ashes, despite rain again ruining
their preparations Tuesday, and said they won't be distracted by upheaval in
the Australian camp.

   The tourists' build-up to the five-Test series, which starts next week at
Brisbane's Gabba ground, has been wrecked by bad weather.

   A three-day practice match was washed out last week, bar 29 overs, and the
opening day of their final four-day hit-out Tuesday was also rained off, with
more showers forecast.

   "It's been unusual, it's been different to a lot of previous tours,"
skipper Root said.

   "The guys have really taken the opportunity to get as much as they can
from what they've had and that's all you can really do in these situations,
along with mentally making sure you are as ready as you can be."

   Openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, along with spinner Dom Bess, are the
only members of the Ashes party to have any match practice since the tour

   Players who featured at the recent Twenty20 World Cup -- including Jos
Buttler, Mark Wood, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan and Chris Woakes -- only
linked up with the squad Tuesday after 14 days of quarantine and had hoped to
see some red-ball action.

   Despite the setbacks and England losing nine out of their past 10 Tests in
Australia, Root said his side have a chance to excel this time.

   "If we can control our emotions, play to our skill level and if we can be
smart in situations and do things differently to how we've done them
previously, then I believe we've got a brilliant chance to do something
special here," he said.

   Australia similarly head into the first Test on December 8 lacking match
practice, with their only red-ball warm-up a three-day clash due to start
Wednesday -- that also faces being washed out.

   They have also been rocked by the shock resignation of Tim Paine as
captain, with Pat Cummins taking over.

   "From our point of view it doesn't change anything, it doesn't change how
we prepare, that we respect them as a team and what they will bring to this
series," Root said of the Australian upheaval.

   "More than anything, I don't want us as a team to get sidetracked by
what's happening in their camp. It's really important that we focus on
ourselves and ready ourselves as best we can.

   "Playing against Pat, I know what a competitor he is and what he brings to
their team. I expect him to do just that as a captain as well," he added.

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