By Callum Dent
England batsman Joe Root has signed a two-year contract extension to stay with his native county Yorkshire until December 2016.
Root, 23, is currently out injured with a broken thumb but is hoping to return for Yorkshire this month, and then for England at the start of their international summer.
His 955 Test runs, since his England career started in December 2012, include a top score of 180 as an opener at Lord's in last summer's Investec Ashes.
Great to be back in at @Yorkshireccc today. Very pleased to have signed an extension. great club, great people, time to win some trophies!
— Joe Root (@joeroot05) April 7, 2014
He subsequently went down the order and then lost his place during England's whitewash to Australia over the winter, but signed off with a one-day international century against West Indies last month - despite having his right thumb broken when he had just a single to his name in that innings.
That blow kept him out of England's World Twenty20 campaign in Bangladesh.
Yorkshire, however, are not expecting to be without Root for long - having identified the LV= County Championship Division One match against Middlesex from April 27 as his probable comeback date.
Root, waiting for the result of a scan today on the injured digit, said at Yorkshire’s pre-season media day: "It's one of those things you can't really put a timescale on, but I hope by the end of the month I'll be back playing some cricket.
"That would be nice. That's the timeframe they gave me at the start - when I did it - about six weeks, which works out towards the end of April. All being well, that game at Middlesex is one I'll be looking to try to play in.
"I hope I get some better news today, and it will almost be looking in one piece. But that's part of being a cricketer. You've got to take these knocks on the chin and come back."
Root is adamant Yorkshire have the strength in depth to challenge on all fronts this season.
The White Rose narrowly missed out on lifting their first championship title since 2001 last season, losing out to Durham by 24.5 points, while their limited-overs form fell short of their high standards.
But having witnessed first-hand the talent within Jason Gillespie's ranks, which have been boosted by the signings of overseas duo Kane Williamson and Aaron Finch this term, Root is confident silverware is just around the corner.
"I think Yorkshire have a great chance, a really strong squad,” he added.
"You want strength in depth, guys to be able to come in if others get called up for England or get injured.
"I think we've got that. I hope we can start well, and it's going to be important getting some momentum into the season.
"If we can do that, I think we'll be a really hard side to break down and should be right up there at the end of the summer.
"Alex Lees had a fantastic winter with the (England) Lions programme; Adam Lyth scored a hundred last week in the first first-class game of the summer.
"You've got Kane Williamson to come back in, then Aaron Finch...a lot of power...and you've not even mentioned Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance. They just keep coming.
"It's been too long for a big club like Yorkshire to not get any silverware, so there are a lot of hungry lads in this dressing-room now.
"We want to make sure we come away this summer with some sort of silverware. The championship would be the icing on the cake.
"But we know it's going to be a lot of hard work and we're going to have to play a lot of really good cricket, because there are some very good sides about."
On Root’s new deal, Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon said: "We are delighted that Joe has committed his long-term future to the club.
"He is one of the brightest talents in the game and will be part of Yorkshire and England's plans for many years to come.
"His desire to be the best that he can is a perfect example to our young players that if you work hard on your skills and have total commitment, you can achieve almost anything in your profession."