Out of the ICC World Twenty20 and likely to miss the start of the new County Championship season, Joe Root now has time to take stock of his first frantic 15 months in international cricket.
The 23-year-old England batsman broke his right thumb in eight places earlier this month while compiling a sparkling T20 century against the West Indies at a time when he was really enjoying his cricket.
The Sky Sports Cricket Podcast caught up with Root at Lord's, where he scored his maiden ton against Australia last year, to find out more about his recovery, his Ashes reflections and his hopes of success with England and Yorkshire.
To listen to the podcast in full, including Rob Key's reaction to England's opening World Twenty20 match against New Zealand, which ended in a nine-run defeat on Duckworth Lewis, simply click here...
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How has international cricket measured up to your expectations, Joe?
Joe: I always expected it to be tough and competitive and it has certainly been that - especially over the last six months or so in Australia. I've had the highs of winning the Ashes in England and then the lows of getting thrashed over there. It's exciting moving forward. It's obviously going to be a very important summer for England as a side and we obviously need to put some performances in.
What has been your highlight so far?
Joe: Winning the Ashes is pretty special. To be involved in a series like that at such an early stage of my career is very exciting and to know that I contributed in that series is obviously very pleasing as well. The hardships you go through as a team to achieve something like that having worked hard over a long period of time is really pleasing and enjoyable.
What lessons did you learn from that tour of Australia?
Joe: It was obviously a tough tour. We didn't play as well as Australia - that's quite evident with the [5-0] result and the performances. What's more important than anything is that we learn from the experiences that we had out there and we try to put them right so that we never forget that horrible feeling we had coming off at Sydney having lost 5-0 and use that as a drive to improve and focus. That's going to be something I'm never going to forget and it will drive me to want to get better so I'm not in the same situation if I play back in that series down the line.
How have you coped with the pressures of international cricket?
Joe: It hasn't changed massively, to be honest - I like to think that I'm quite relaxed about things like that. I love playing cricket and if it ever got to a stage where that stopped, I'd be quite disappointed. Even when it's not going well there is still plenty of things involved in cricket [to keep you going] - your team-mates and the hardships that you go through is what makes the hardships so good. It has obviously been a bit of a rollercoaster over the last few months. It's exciting now moving forward into the summer to try and rectify what wasn't a great winter and hopefully put some really good performances together as an individual and as part of an England team.
How has Twenty20 cricket helped you develop your game?
Joe: If you want to play all forms and be successful you've got to be able to score quickly, whatever the format. The great thing about Twenty20 cricket is you have the freedom to take a few more risks and try to score in unusual areas at times. It expands your game. In that respect it has helped because it has opened up new areas for me to score and it has helped me to develop my bowling as well, although I'm a long way from the finished article.
How do you think Yorkshire will go this season?
Joe: I'm really excited. Currently the lads are in Sri Lanka on pre-season. I think they are working really hard and they have been for the last couple of months. It looks like they are really enjoying themselves out there. I've had a bit of contact with a few of the lads and they are raring to go, so hopefully we can get off to a good start, similar to last year, and get on a roll again and this time close out the season and be a really strong side in that division. We've got great strength in depth and some very good overseas players coming. If we perform anything like we can do, then we will be a very, very hard side to beat.
So how is the thumb?
Joe: It's a bit of a mess to be honest. It's going to take as long as it takes. I don't want to put a date on when I'll be back playing. It would be nice to play at the end of April/start of May but I'll just have to wait and see how long it takes to heal. I don't need an operation. I've just got to let it heal and take it's time. I can't do any gripping or lifting so golf is out of the question, which is a big hammer-blow, as well as X-box and any other hobbies of mine.
Joe Root was speaking at Lord's as the ECB announced it has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with that makes Hardys, the UK's largest wine brand, the new Official Wine of England Cricket.