Joe out to take Root in top order

Joe Root is determined to keep it simple as he looks to develop his promising career with Yorkshire and England.

The 21-year-old opener, widely recognised as one of the brightest prospects in English cricket alongside the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, has spent a winter away with the Lions, travelling to India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Abu Dhabi.

He has even been earmarked by some pundits as the next in line behind Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, despite the fact that he is only in the early stages of his second full season as a professional.

But, after insisting he has developed both as a player and a person since last September, the right-hander says Yorkshire must be his only focus for the time being.

"I'm not really looking at England," he said ahead today's three-day University match with Leeds/Bradford at Headingley.

"I want to play at the highest level possible. So, if I get a call-up at any stage, that would be fantastic. If not, then I'll just enjoy playing my cricket at Yorkshire.

"I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into the season with the lads here."

Root, who made 76 in the second innings of last week's County Championship draw against Kent, has clocked up the air miles in the sub-continent during the winter, something which he also feels has helped him personally.

"I definitely think I've developed as a person too," he continued. "It gives you a good insight into other cultures and the different cities of the world that you get to go to. You get to see some of the poverty, and it makes you realise how lucky you are.

"I just love playing cricket, and the fact I can do that as a job is fantastic."

With Australian Phil Jaques due to arrive in England on Monday ahead of Thursday's Championship match against Essex at Headingley, today's University match is vital.

And, while Root is not the obvious candidate to make way, he cannot afford to rest on his laurels. In fact, he is relishing the challenge ahead.

"It's a really healthy position that we're in," he added. "We've got a fantastic squad here, and it's healthy competition, which can only improve you.

"The fact that you're always competing to stay in the Yorkshire team is a positive. In cricket you're always going to be competing for spots, and the more you can get used to it, the better.

"All I can do is just score as many runs as possible and see where that takes me."

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