Root lays down England foundations

Yorkshire and England Lions opener Joe Root is in confident mood as he gears up to face White Rose team-mates Tim Bresnan and Jonny Bairstow in a one-day match in Abu Dhabi today.

The right-hander will almost certainly line up for the Lions against the England senior side as they warm up for their forthcoming series against Pakistan, with the contest giving Bresnan the perfect opportunity to prove his fitness after an elbow problem.

If Root can shine against Bresnan, Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, he will push himself closer to full international honours.

After the Test horror show against spin, a number of England's batsmen are under pressure, and Root has been mentioned as a possible replacement after an encouraging winter.

He scored 81 in a one-day match against Bangladesh A last month before notching an unbeaten 110 against Sri Lanka A earlier this week.

But, not surprisingly, the 21-year-old is refusing to look too far ahead as he builds a career.

"I'm just enjoying the cricket and looking forward to the game," he said after helping the Lions to a 3-2 win in Sri Lanka.

"It's nice to score a few runs, and to finish on a high was quite nice. I just want to make the most of the opportunity. When you work hard for six weeks and score runs, it's a nice feeling.

"The lads pulled together well, and it was a great trip (Sri Lanka). The pitches varied, they opened with the spinner and got it to skid on. As the tour went on and we learnt the conditions, we progressed."

Root has worked extensively with Lions' batting coach Graham Thorpe this winter, and he added: "Graham has taught me a lot about the mental approach, decision making and having a better understanding of your own game and the strengths and weaknesses."

Meanwhile, Root's younger brother Billy, a 19-year-old all-rounder, has been handed a place on the MCC Young Cricketers programme for 2012.

He will be based at Lord's, and will also tour the UAE next month. He could face Lancashire and Sussex in friendlies.

The left-handed opening batsman and right-arm medium pace bowler, played second-team cricket for Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire last summer. He has spent his winter playing grade cricket in Perth.

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