New England Test cricket captain Joe Root has shared his top tips with young players and fielded questions from staff and students during a visit to the University of Wolverhampton.
The University is sponsoring Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club, where Joe Root’s stellar career started, as part of plans to increase its presence in the city.
Through the new partnership the 26-year-old star visited the University on Thursday, 16 February 2017.
During the visit, Joe, who was named England Test cricket captain on Monday, took part in a question & answer session with students and staff, compered by cycling legend Hugh Porter MBE.
The University is sponsoring the youth academy at Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club, and a team shirt was presented to student Raman Jaswal, a sports scholar who is an opening batsman for Wolverhampton Cricket Club and Worcestershire County Academy.
In the afternoon, Joe Root visited the University’s Walsall Campus, which is home to the University’s sports facilities.
More than 70 school pupils from six local schools and Walsall Cricket Club took part in a nets session and a fielding exercise with University staff and students, and Joe Root joined them to share his expertise.
He then visited the University’s Strength and Conditioning Suite in the British Judo Centre of Excellence and met with Olympic gymnast and University of Wolverhampton student, Kristian Thomas.
Recognised as one of the best batsmen in the world, Joe Root scored more than 1,000 Test runs in 2016 and was named England Test Cricketer of the Year in 2015.
He said: “It has been a very exciting and proud couple of days for me. I was really made up to get the call and opportunity to lead England in the coming years. It means a lot to me and it is a really exciting time.
“I think the facilities at the University of Wolverhampton are brilliant. Having seen the set-up at British Judo, the strength and conditioning suite and the 3G pitch at Walsall I can see that they’ve got all the bases covered and it is fantastic. At the Wolverhampton Campus I visited the science labs and saw the University’s Formula 3 racing car and I think they are providing an excellent and varied experience for students.
“It was lovely to meet the students and the children from the local clubs and schools, and to have an insight into what they are learning about the sport. When you take on a role in international sport, you want to inspire the next generation to enjoy it as much as you did as a kid. The more you can do that as a player and an ambassador for cricket the better.
“My advice to young people is to enjoy whatever you are focused on as much as you can. Embrace the tough times if it is not all plain sailing and make the most of the opportunities available to you. If you want to do something, the hard work and sacrifices will be worth it in the end.”
Kay Biscomb, Director of the University’s Institute of Sport, said: “We were delighted to welcome Joe Root to the University. As an internationally renowned cricketer and the new England Test captain, he provided inspiration to our students and insights into life as an elite sportsman.
“The University organises a range of outreach activities to encourage young people to aspire to higher education, and I’m sure the schools that joined us for the coaching session enjoyed meeting such an inspirational figure.
“We’re also absolutely delighted to be partnering with Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club, where former England captain Michael Vaughan also began his hugely successful career.
“The University is committed to nurturing sporting talent and ensuring our students have access to the best facilities and experience possible, so we’re thrilled that a world-class cricketer of Joe’s standing was able to share his insights with us.”
Richard Ibbotson, Chairman of Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club, said: “The club are delighted to be entering into this new partnership with the University of Wolverhampton. We are so fortunate to continue to enjoy huge support from Joe Root and Michael Vaughan OBE, as well as Richard Kettleborough, the ICC's leading umpire. Their careers have taken them around the world but they can frequently be seen back at Abbeydale Sports Club, where their sporting prowess was nurtured, helping us to encourage the next generation of young cricketers.”
The University of Wolverhampton is in the process of appointing a new regional officer to be based in Sheffield to provide advice and guidance to potential students. West and South Yorkshire has the most rapid growth in 18-year-olds in the country, so is a key target area for recruitment for the University.