England Test skipper Joe Root is on the cusp of playing his 100th Test match, and speaking about the feat, the batsman said that he is really proud to be on the eve of achieving the milestone and he cannot wait to step on the field.
India and England are set to lock horns in four Tests, three ODIs, and five T20Is. The first Test begins February 5 and as Root steps on the field, he will play his 100th Test match for the Three Lions.
"The century has eluded me a few times with the bat so I'm really proud to be on the eve of playing a hundred Tests. It feels great to join that club. There are some fantastic players - people I've looked up to for many years - among them. For a young kid from Sheffield... from being seven or eight years old, dreaming of playing for England, to be sat here now... I'm sure he would be extremely proud," ESPNCricinfo quoted Root as saying.
"I hope it's not near the end. I still feel like there's a lot left in me. There's certainly a burning desire to keep going and play as long as I can. I'm really excited about the coming year," he added.
In January this year, Root played two Tests against Sri Lanka, where he scored 228 and 186 and led his team to a 2-0 Test series victory. For this performance, he was also awarded the Player of the Series.
England's touring contingent arrived in Chennai on January 27 and all the members were in quarantine for six days before they finally began their training. Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Rory Burns arrived earlier as the trio did not play the Test series against Sri Lanka.
"Any team would welcome Ben back with both arms as often as possible and we certainly do. Having watched him practice, he looks like his bowling is strong, he is batting very well and very much ready to get going. I had the displeasure of facing Jofra and he bowled at the speed of light. He looked in a great rhythm," said Root.
England was the last team that defeated India in India as the side achieved the feat in 2012 under the captaincy of Sir Alistair Cook. Root was a part of the team that was able to defeat MS Dhoni's side 2-1 in the four-match series.
"I played a very small part in the amazing 2012 series. That was very special. But I don't think at the time I appreciated how hard it is to win in these conditions. Having toured since I have a better understanding of it. It would be a huge achievement for this group of players. But it's one we certainly have the tools to do. I'm really excited about it. It should be good fun," said Root.
Talking about the responsibility of leading a team, Root said: "Understanding that responsibility is really important. We're very aware that we're role models and it is very important we use that in a positive way and try to make cricket as good as it can be while we have the opportunity to have a big effect on it. As players at the top of the game, we have a really good opportunity to make changes for the better."
"As a player and captain, in particular, you want to try to lead the way in those opportunities and that image for the sport. You want the next guy to come in and the next generation to be inspired. For the kids to look at the game and think, 'I want to be a part of that, I want to play cricket because it looks so much fun. It looks a really good sport to be a part of," he added.
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