JOE ROOT wants 400 runs in five games to send him soaring into the World Cup.
England’s Test skipper will be vital to the co-hosts’ bid for a first global 50-over trophy when the showpiece kicks off later this month.
And that means scoring runs and more runs.
He is eyeing a hatful in the ODI series with Pakistan starting tomorrow.
With rested players Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali returning for the first ODI at The Oval, the World Cup build-up begins in earnest.
Sure, beating Ireland away and Pakistan in a T20 match in Cardiff established early-season momentum.
But England can now focus fully on fine-tuning players’ form and settling their final 15-man squad.
Root said: “It’s pleasing to be two from two so far and hopefully we can carry that forward throughout the five games against Pakistan.
“It feels like we’re in a good place but we mustn’t take that for granted.
“I feel good with the bat. It’s easy to start feeling too high or too low.
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“I’ve been sat in these discussions before feeling I’m missing out and not performing but, after you make a score, the world’s a different place.
“It’s trying to get the most out of every practice and every game leading into the World Cup.
“It would be great to score 400 runs in five games and feel on top of the world but it’s all about performing under pressure when the World Cup starts.”
Root made 47 from 42 balls in England’s seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the one-off T20 match in Cardiff on Sunday.
Although there are plenty more powerful hitters, his ability to rotate strike and play classical cricket shots still have a place in the shortest format.
He certainly has no plans to quit T20 in order to concentrate on one-dayers and Tests.
Root explained: “I want to play as much as I can, any format, and try to find breaks in the schedule when they allow.
“I know time will catch up with me and I won’t have any cricket left to play. So I want to play as much as I can.
“It’s a huge summer and it’s important we manage our time wisely but I want to harness every opportunity to play.”
Jofra Archer’s striking performances in his first two England appearances have caught the eye of Root, who leads England in The Ashes this summer.
Root said: “I’ve not faced him in the nets yet, which could be interesting.
“He hurried a few of their guys in Cardiff.
“I think he preferred this pitch to the one in Ireland as it had a little more pace.
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“You could see the value of what Jofra brings to a side, that extra bit of zip. He makes things happen, which is a brilliant quality.
“I’m looking at everyone with an eye on The Ashes.
“I’ll try not to be too emotional and make sure my focus is being ready for the World Cup.
“It’s exciting to see another option to add to what is a growing bowling group. It’s great to see us producing more players.”