Friday, 28 April 2017, 10:22pm
Root prepares to deliver on childhood dreams
Now the country's Test captain is preparing for a year which could deliver beyond his wildest adolescent reveries.
Root was always tipped for the top, a youngster of uncommon sporting prowess with the temperament and ambition to match, and at 26 he finds himself as the country's foremost player and centrepiece of grand designs at home and abroad.
In June England will attempt to win their first major 50-over tournament in the Champions Trophy on home shores and Root will go in as the team's prize scalp.
Thereafter he will make his bow in the skipper's blazer, against South Africa and the West Indies, before heading Down Under for a potentially career-defining Ashes tour.
The challenges ahead are huge, the rewards on offer irresistible. And to start it all he made the trip back to Dore Primary School, delivering a bashful assembly and a few batting tips for the next generation.
Speaking as an unseasonal blast of snow fell on the his one-time playground, summer silverware and the Sydney Test may have seemed a world away but Root insists it was always part of the plan.
"That's what I did, I sat over there somewhere looking out the window and got told off for not concentrating because that was all I would think about," he reminisced.
"This was my year six classroom. When we behaved well we had Oasis on for five minutes at the end of the day.
"Coming from a cricket family as well, I spent my weekends going to watch cricket and whacking balls around on the sideline. The school was very good at making sure we had opportunities in all sports.
"We had the opportunity to try a lot of sports: Aussie Rules, rugby, lacrosse. The Sheffield Eagles came in once.
"It was very good at giving us the chance to try something different and give us chances from a young age. The more that can be encouraged, the better for sport. It is great to see this school embrace that attitude and hopefully that can be infectious."
In a Q&A with the children Root confessed to being bad at maths and favouring art but his education at Dore, whose walls are emblazoned with messages about Syrian refugees and positive messages of respect and good citizenship, extends beyond traditional subjects.
Root qualifies as an authentic student of his sport and last season served drinks down the road at Sheffield Collegiate, where his father and brother Billy still turn out and he made his first forays into adult cricket, but his England captaincy promises to be a rounded one.
"That was my upbringing, that you treat people with respect. Make sure you look after people around you and it holds you in good stead going forward in terms of leadership," he said.
"Look all the best leaders and they have those qualities. I am not the finished article but I like to think the grounding I have had and the background I have been raised with will help me going forward.
"Hopefully that can be infectious throughout the side. We have some great blokes in our team who know how to behave and interact with people, not just in the squad but those outside cricket who hold all those values as well.
"When you have the same views you become closer as a team."
Root has not spent too much time thinking about his Test captaincy yet, with his first day on the job still more th an two months away, and he remains undecided on the correct balance between preparation and instinct.
"People have been respectful in not trying to throw things down my throat or down my ears, giving me a little bit of space to get my head around white-ball cricket before it all gets a bit more real," said Root.
"Over the next few weeks I might reach out to a few different people. It is always nice to get a little bit of an insight into an ex-player or captain who has been there and done it all.
"But I don't want to feel like I'm over-prepared or ready now, then miss out somewhere down the line when it unfolds in front of my eyes. I've been reading a few books here and there but I like to think I'm quite an instinctive player and if that's the way I'm going to be as a captain I don't want to go into it with too many pre-conceived ideas.
"Of course you want to be prepared but at the same time you have to go with what sits best with your personality and what's worked for you previously."
:: Joe Root was visiting Dore Primary School to launch Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week with Chance to Shine. This year it runs Monday 19th - Friday 23rd June, sign up now at www.chancetoshine.org/ncw_signups.
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Joe Root went back to school ahead of a potentially career-defining year with England