England captain Root trying to make most of enforced break

Monday would have seen Joe Root leading England in the second Test against Sri Lanka, but the tour was halted in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

England captain Joe Root had earlier said there had been a lot of talk about the virus in the dressing room and it had started to overshadow the cricket.

England captain Joe Root had earlier said there had been a lot of talk about the virus in the dressing room and it had started to overshadow the cricket.   -  Getty Images

England Test captain Joe Root wants to make the most of some unexpected extra time with his family as he urged his side to reflect on its game while cricket is put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday should have seen Root leading England in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

But the tour was halted midway through a warm-up match on March 13, before the two-Test series had even started, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has postponed all domestic cricket until at least May 28.

“Getting the chance to spend time with family at home is obviously something we don't get a huge amount of,” said Root, the father of a three-year-old son, in a conference call.

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“Very strange times we are living in. I think it's important that when we get our opportunities we try to help and support everyone around us and really come together like we've seen a lot of throughout the whole nation over the last couple of weeks.”

While there may not be any cricket, Root's responsibilities as Test captain are still continuing as he checks on the health and well-being of his squad.

“I've actually been in touch with every single player across the course of the winter throughout the last couple of weeks to make sure everyone is OK, make sure everyone is getting their stuff done,” he said.

England drew the Ashes series last year before winning away to South Africa.

The side is supposed to play three-Test series against both the West Indies and Pakistan in the English summer, although the future of those campaigns remains uncertain.

“Trying to get a bit of feedback as well. We now have some time on our hands to have a good assessment of where we are as a team,” said Root.

“I suppose (we can) look at a few things and use this as an opportunity to really improve things and where we might want to take the team forward. There is obviously a lot going around in sport, a lot of uncertainty about when things will start again.

“I think one thing that the guys have done really well is try to stay active, stay fit, stay positive. That's been quite clear when I've called with everyone.”

Paycuts expected

Root also expects his country’s cricket board and the players body to discuss a possible pay cut for him and his teammates “in the coming weeks” as the ECB faces the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am sure at some point in the coming weeks there will be a discussion but those discussions will probably take place between the PCA and the ECB. Until that happens, that is not my area of expertise,” Root was quoted as saying by the ICC’s official website.

When normal cricket does resume, Root is bracing himself for an exponential increase in the workload.

“It would be a very tough winter, a huge amount of workload, especially on the multi-format players, but we have had some tough winters in the past and found ways to get through them.”

“It would be interesting to see how they would fit it in looking at the schedule as it right now but if it was to go ahead, we would have to be able to adapt, look at the squad sizes we take over and make sure guys weren’t blown out and overworked.

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