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Root to open new chapter

Joe Root’s rise to being an England regular in all formats has been sharp and it will reach a new peak when he opens the batting versus Essex.

Root made his senior international debut during December in the fourth Test with India and has since remained in the middle order.

However, he has been chosen to partner captain Alastair Cook for the LV= Challenge match against Essex, a four-day fixture that starts tomorrow, suggesting he will bat in that position at the start of the Investec Ashes.

Although the 22-year-old right-hander is used to opening for Yorkshire, doing so for his country is a potentially daunting task.

"There's a lot more media attention," he said. "But it's just the same, 11 blokes like any other game. I'm just trying to get my head round tomorrow, and take it step by step."

Root, who continued his impressive international displays in the recent Champions Trophy, is determined to keep his approach to batting simple.

“You can face the ball coming down at you, just like any other situation,” he added.

“It’s just about trying to manage the atmosphere and everything going on around you and make sure you concentrate on what’s happening - starting tomorrow, with the first ball that I face.”

Playing in the Ashes, which begin in Nottingham on July 10, will be a lifelong wish granted for Root.

"It's what I always dreamt of, growing up," he said. "That's what you want to play in - those big occasions."

“Everything’s new to me, with regards to the Ashes, so I just really want to get involved in it and impress this weekend and look forward to the first Test.

“I know it’s the Ashes ... but it’s just another game of cricket, playing against 11 blokes.”

Ravi Bopara is due to lead Essex in the absence of the rested James Foster, who said: "It's a wonderful chance for some of our guys to show what they are about.

"Obviously the England side will want to take maximum benefit from this match ahead of the Ashes series with a number of their players looking to push their own case for inclusion in the side for the first Test match.

"But I'm sure that we can give a good account of ourselves against some of the most talented cricketers in world cricket. I know that all of our squad are really looking forward to the challenge."

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