IAN Bell may have been replaced as England’s test vice-captain but his successor Joe Root believes the Warwickshire batsman still has as important a role to play.
With Andrew Strauss coming in as national director of cricket, the decision was made to put Root as second in-command behind Alastair Cook.
The 24-year-old is nine years Bell’s junior and will have the opportunity to get to grips with his new role when New Zealand, and then Australia, come to town this summer.
But he insists Coventry-born Bell, who has now played over 100 test matches, will still have a huge influence on proceedings on and off the field.
“Belly is absolutely still a big part of England’s future – he’s an absolutely fantastic player and he’s proven that over a number of years,” said Root.
“With him being one of the most senior players and all the experience he’s got, he is going to be absolutely massive for us this summer.
“He helps the young lads coming through in the side but also with his own personal performances.
“You saw in that first Test match in the West Indies, how important that knock was and I’m sure he’ll do that a number of times this summer as well.”
England will be attempting to bounce back from a disappointing 1-1 series draw on their recent tour of the West Indies when they take on New Zealand.
Aside from a fluent 143 in Antigua, Bell failed to hit top form in the Caribbean – accruing just 12 runs in his other four innings.
And while Bell’s recent batting may not have lived up to his normal lofty standards, Root says watching him in the vice-captain’s role has been a real learning experience.
“I’ve seen Ian Bell being supportive of Cooky and helping him out when he can as vice-captain, which is what I want to do,” added the Yorkshireman.
“Like Ian, I want to be speaking up in team meetings and starting to think about the game from a more tactical front.
“That’s something you always want to do anyway but more so in that position of vice-captain.
“If Cooky comes to me, I want to have something in place to discuss and chat about and go from there.”
Joe Root was speaking at the filming of the LV = Broken Through video.
To keep up to date with the LV= County Championship visit LV.com/cricket or follow @LV_Cricket on Twitter.