Townsville (Australia), Nov 14 (IANS) With cricket pundits predicting another humiliation of England in the upcoming Ashes series, an unfazed skipper Joe Root said his side is better prepared to take on the hostile hosts and wiser than they were four years ago.
The Englishmen were thrashed 0-5 during the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia, which has once again fuelled talks of yet another humiliation for the tourists in the upcoming five-match rubber, starting on November 23 at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Root, however, rubbished the predictions, saying the visitors are ready to face all the challenges during the series.
“There’s been a lot of talk. Some of it exciting and some of it a load of rubbish. Especially from some of the Aussie players,” Root was quoted as saying by ecb.co.uk on the eve of their final warm-up fixure against a Cricket Australia XI, here from Wednesday.
“Last time that caught us out, but I think we are a bit wiser this time. It’s making sure we are absolutely prepared for any scenario and absolutely ready for that first game, whatever they do throw at us.
“We expect it to be hostile. We expect it to be a very loud and rowdy atmosphere at the Gabba. We are in a good place and ready for that. We have got our heads round what to expect.
“Fear is not the right word to describe England’s attitude. Respect probably is. They have a lot of quality in their attack, but we have lots of quality in our side too,” he added.
The 26-year-old also rubbished Australia’s frontline spinner Nathan Lyon’s threat of going after the English skipper, who has 13 hundreds and 32 half-centuries from 60 Test matches.
“I’ve heard a lot of chat about them targeting me in particular,” Root told reporters on Tuesday.
“Bring it on. it’s what it’s about. You want that competitive element and there are little in-house rivalries.
“It should be a great series and they’ve got some great players within their squads and some good characters which will make for a great Test,” he said.
Root, who has so far scored 58, 1 and 9 in three innings in Australia also spoke about his hunger for big runs during the series.
“That’s one of the things we really want to get out of this game — guys going on and making big hundreds.
“If we get the opportunity to do that, that’s definitely the mentality of the batting side and that’s something we have to have throughout the five Test matches.
“But ultimately getting runs and good habits here and getting in good habits is the way we have to approach it,” he said.
The captain also revealed his playing XI for the four-day game, which will miss England’s highest Test wicket-taker James Anderson because of illness.
Anderson, who was appointed Root’s deputy is, however, expected to be fully fit for the first Test.
England will however, be bolstered by the return of spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali for the warm-up game.
England team for four-day tour game: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Joe Root (Captain), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow (WK), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Craig Overton, Stuart Broad, Mason Crane.