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England cricketer Joe Root speaks during an interview with Geo News in Rawalpindi on November 30, 2022, ahead of the first Test match against Pakistan. — Photo by author

RAWALPINDI: Experienced England cricketer Joe Root is hopeful that his teammates will recover in 24 hours as he looks forward to a “great” Test series against Pakistan.

Talking exclusively to Geo News ahead of the Rawalpindi Test, Root said that England’s arrival in Pakistan for three-match series is a huge moment for Test cricket.

England are on their first Test tour of Pakistan in 17 years, following their T20 side playing seven matches in the country two months ago, taking the series 4-3.

The veteran of 124 Tests suggests that England would continue playing the way it has been playing for the last few months.

“I think there’s a virus going around the team. It’s just one of those things sometimes. We don’t think it’s food related. It’s just an unfortunate thing that can happen sometimes when you’ve got a group, they’re tight together.”

“I didn’t feel great yesterday and feel much better today. So hopefully, it’s just a 24-hour thing and the guys can turn [make a comeback] tomorrow and we can reap into what should be a great series,” he said.

31-year-old Root has played 124 Tests and 158 ODIs along with 32 T20IS and has amassed over 17600 runs in international cricket.

When asked about the three-match series in Pakistan, the top batter said that it is a huge moment for Test cricket and England has been looked after well.

“I feel very fortunate. We’ve been looked after extremely well since we come in, and we’re very excited to get into it, it should be a fantastic contest,” he said.

“We know how good Pakistan are, they’ve some wonderful players across the board in all departments. So, we know how to play some great cricket but I think that makes for a very entertaining and exciting Test series.”

“I think there’s a number of very talented seamers within the group, there’s some class in batting so as I say very well-rounded team throughout and we’re just going to have to play in the same manner that we have done over the last year and, that exciting style that we’ve been playing which has been great. It is an opportunity to do that away from home now as well,” he added.

Talking about England’s style of cricket in Test matches, Joe Root said that Test cricket needs to be enjoyed and that’s exactly what England is trying to do.

“We know that obviously results are important and I think if we play in this manner that and we play how we have done then the results will look after themselves but ultimately we’re here to entertain and that’s exactly what we plan on doing over the next three games,” he said.

“I think everyone will have their own views on that. I’ve never had more fun playing Test cricket than in the last six months. So, I think it’s fantastic for the game.”

“I think it’s really exciting to play. It looks very exciting to watch as well. And, surely that’s what cricket is all about, making it entertaining for the people either sitting at home watching on television or in the stadium. So, if we can try and make that even better spectacle then we’ll try our best to do so,” he said when asked if that’s the way Test cricket should be played now.

Replying to a question, Root said that Shaheen Shah Afridi has done well for Pakistan over the year but Pakistan has good depth in fast bowling and can do well against England.

“Even though such a good bowler is missing out we know there are others as well that we’re going to have to respect and wait for the right time to try and counter,” he said.

He also praised Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam and said that the batter is one of the best players around the world “without a doubt”.

“He’s done it across formats for a number of years now, his record across the world in Test cricket has been pretty consistent. And he’s one of those players that when he’s batting you sit and watch. I think he’s going to go from strength to strength.”

“I don’t think he’s peaked just yet. I think there’s more to come and we’re going to have to play really well to keep him quiet,” he concluded.

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