England skipper Joe Root remaining upbeat despite Mark Wood’s injury
Joe Root is refusing to let England's injury troubles or their glaring failure in the previous Test match get him down ahead of the third match of the series against India.
Fast bowler Mark Wood is the latest player on the treatment table after damaging his shoulder at Lord's while fielding on the boundary.
Wood joins fellow quicks Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Olly Stone on the injury list, while all-rounder Ben Stokes is taking a hiatus from cricket to concentrate on his mental health and recovery from a hand injury which has been bothering him all summer.
Root described himself as a "cricket tragic", and noted that he doesn't find optimism hard to come by given that it has been his lifelong fantasy to represent his country at the sport, particularly as captain.
Root said: "I’m playing for England and I’m playing Test cricket. It’s quite easy to stay positive in that respect, I’m living my boyhood dream.
"I’m constantly trying to remind myself of that as well, when we are having the odd tough day or things aren’t always going our way. When I was 10 years old I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do.
"Living that boyhood dream is one way you can keep motivating yourself to front up to the next challenge and the next day. I’m a cricket tragic at heart. I love the game, I love batting. Every opportunity to do that I’ll try and take.”
Root's form has been exceptional in 2021 and particularly in this series, where he has already scored two centuries in the opening Tests.
Unfortunately, his stellar performances have not been matched by any of the other batsmen in the side, the deficiencies laid bare for all to see in the stunning final day collapse at Lord's which handed India victory.
Wood is likely to be replaced by either Saqib Mahmood or Craig Overton, with the former having performed impressively in the recent white-ball series win against Pakistan.
Overton meanwhile has travelled as a reserve with the Test team all summer, and may feel that he as earned his chance.
Speaking about Wood's freak injury, Root said: "The news is frustrating for Mark and for us as a side, I thought he bowled really well at Lord’s.
"He gives us a real point of difference, added pace, and seems to be in real good fettle at the moment. We just have to deal with and it will provide an opportunity for someone else to step-up."
On the batting side of things, Dom Sibley's arduous international summer has been brought to an abrupt end as he was removed from the squad. Haseeb Hameed is expected to open the batting alongside Rory Burns, with Dawid Malan set to slot in at number three.
Malan hasn't played in the five-day format since 2018, but scored a decent quantity of runs in the previous Ashes tour in Australia including a century in Perth- the 33-year-old's selection no doubt coming with that important tour in mind.
Root said of Malan: "I think Dawid will offer us a lot of experience in that top three. He has played a huge amount of international cricket now.
"He has dealt with pressure situations, he has played in a massive series in Australia and been our leading run scorer out there, so we know that he is capable of big things in Test match cricket.
"You can look back at a number of things, like selection, and with hindsight everything can look very different. But he is a fine player who has had to deal with a number of different pressures throughout his career and he has come through swimmingly."
England's untimely demise at Lord's came in part due to the team becoming drawn into an emotional battle with Jasprit Bumrah and their subsequent lack of patience when it came to bowling at the tailender.
The rest of the Indian team, and in particular their feisty captain Virat Kohli, rallied around their bowler and used the intensity of the duel to help defeat the English team.
Root said of that matter: "When you’re out there in the middle and it does get a bit heated, it doesn’t matter where you are – home or away – it’s a passage of play you have manage well and they managed it better than us on that occasion.
"We have got to be genuine to ourselves, genuine to how we are as individuals and how we are collectively and be as good as we can be in the way we go about things. Virat and his team will play the way they play."
The third Test gets underway at Headinley on Wednesday with England looking to restore parity in the series.
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