England captain Joe Root believes the hostile environment that awaits his side in their Ashes opening in Brisbane can help bring his side closer together as they attempt to reclaim the pot from behind enemy lines.
Traveling England teams are often treated to a fierce welcome Down Under, nowhere more so than at The Gabba, a 42,000-capacity cauldron that has been affectionately nicknamed ‘The Gabbatoir’.
That’s where the 2021/22 campaign will kick off on Wednesday, with the first ball set to land at 10am local time or midnight UK time, and Root’s team reception likely even more intense than usual.
Coronavirus travel restrictions mean the noisier elements of Barmy’s Army will watch from home instead of making them heard from the stands, with a reduced contingent of around 1,000 expats living in Queensland keeping the fort.
And while that meant the atmosphere would be highly partisan, Root saw an opportunity to build siege mentality with his teammates.
“It was an opportunity for us to get really tight and stand firm with that. It will have to be,” he said.
“More than anything, we just need to make sure it doesn’t affect the way we play things out on the pitch. We’re going to embrace it, enjoy the atmosphere and try to develop that kind of arena as much as we can.
“It’s hard to know because people who have been here before will never experience the feeling of not having fans there. We always appreciate the support we receive while away from home, it’s been phenomenal and I’m sure the Brisbane Barmies will come out in force and do everything they can to support us at The Gabba. ”
Crowds aren’t the only thing Britain will be looking to overcome this week, as they look to shake off a bad recent history on the ground.
Root wasn’t even born the last time his country won the Australian stronghold in 1986, when Mike Gatting was captain and Chris, father of Stuart Broad, opened the match. Since then, it has been a lousy saga that includes six resounding defeats and two draws.
Root’s previous visit as captain four years ago ended with 10 goals, but he is eager to claim the record – just as he did when England beat South Africa in Cape Town last year, Newlands’ first win since 1957.
“(Winning) would absolutely get us to the rest of the series and it’s a great opportunity,” he said.
“This group of players, not too long ago, went to Cape Town where we hadn’t won the Test in a long time and after a performance there won the series.
“I feel like we’ve been able to do it around the world and this is the opportunity to do it here. Obviously conditions are a bit different from home, especially at this venue with a bit more difficulty, but we prepared as best we could for that. If we manage that well, we should have a really good assessment of ourselves and get off to a good start. “
England trained on Monday afternoon, taking a different look at an unusually green pitch. It is likely to take on a different skin before the newly appointed Australian captain Pat Cummins toss a coin, but with more rain forecast throughout the game, Root was in no hurry to keep an eye on the home team by handing out his spreadsheet.
There were decisions made between the bowling team, as well as between Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow for the final hit, but Root kept his cards close to his chest.
“I don’t like mind games, I’m not qualified to name our team right now,” he said.
“Fair play that they announced their XI. It doesn’t really change anything for me, we’ll just run our business the way we want and let you know when we’re ready. ”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/coronavirus-joe-root-england-pat-cummins-barmy-army-b1970347.html Joe Root believes hostile mobs could benefit England in Ashes . series