Having already sealed the series 3-1, England Captain Joe Root now eyes another win in the fifth Test at The Oval. Leading upto the game, Root also reiterated that his side now has the extra motivation of doing it for their teammate and batting great Alastair Cook, as he gears up for his last game for England.
Cook, having amassed 12,254 runs across 160 Tests, announced his retirement at the end of Southampton Test and will be featuring for England one last time at The Oval.
"It will be quite an emotional week for him and for a lot of the guys who have played a lot of cricket with him. He will be a massive loss to our dressing room. But I’m thrilled he’s got an opportunity to enjoy this game." said Root, who is motivated to give his friend a fitting farewell, "My full focus has been on making sure we win this game. It’s been an area we’ve not got right in the past and to beat the number one side in the world and make it 4-1 would send a really strong statement of where we are at as a team and where we are looking to go as a team. It would sum up a good summer of cricket for us in difficult conditions,"
When asked if he his boys have planned some special gesture for the great man, Root further added, “We have not got anything planned per se but I’m sure spontaneously we will do something. I’m sure the ground and the occasion and everyone involved will also help him do that fine. I don’t think it will be a distraction but a motivation for the group. It means a lot to the whole dressing room and they will be desperate to do everything they can to give him a great send off."
“It’s been an outstanding career – 12 years at the top of the order – to have a record like that is some feat, especially in these conditions for the majority of it. There are not many openers around the world who can match that, never mind English players. So he’s going to be very hard to replace.”
Clearing the air, again, on his preferred batting position in the team, Root reiterated that he wants to bat no.4 in the long-term future.
"Four is definitely my preferred position, where I think I’ll get the best out of myself as a player and a captain." he said and added, "So I’d have never known that if I’d never given myself the opportunity to bat at number three and I thought it was the right thing to do by the rest of the team and gave us the best chance of winning."
Having gone through tough winless Test tours of Australia and New Zealand, Root feels relieved by the series against India, the no.1 ranked Test side in the world and he added in conclusion, "The win has given me a huge amount of confidence and I feel like I have grown as a captain and hopefully it can continue,"
The fifth Test starts on Friday, September 7.
(Inputs from PTI)