England captain Joe Root focuses on cleaning up New Zealand and India

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Joe Root aims for clean sweeps of New Zealand and India and the first 100 percent test summer since 2004 to propel England to the Ashes as his counterpart Kane Williamson insists there will be no Lord’s trauma from the heartbreak of the World Cup final

  • England’s first test against New Zealand starts at Lord’s on Wednesday
  • Series of two games to be followed by five tests later in the summer, again India
  • Captain Joe Root aims for a clean sweep of seven England wins
  • That will make sure the confidence in the side is skyrocketing for an Ashes series
  • It’s New Zealand’s first time playing at Lord’s since the 2019 World Cup finalfinal
  • They were painfully beaten by England but insist it doesn’t occur to them

Joe Root has called for the perfect summer as his side prepares for the Ashes, starting with Wednesday’s first Test at Lord’s.

The England captain wants seven out of seven wins against New Zealand and India – a feat not achieved in a home season since 2004, when Michael Vaughan’s team defeated New Zealand 3-0 and the West Indies 4- 0.

And if that means laundering the top two sides in Test cricket, Root knows that the only way to challenge Australia in their own circumstances this winter is to set the bar as high as possible, as early as possible.

Joe Root (left) and Kane Williamson pose with the England vs New Zealand trophy

Joe Root (left) and Kane Williamson pose with the England vs New Zealand trophy

Root walks back from the nets at Lord's during Tuesday's session in sunny conditions

Root walks back from the nets at Lord's during Tuesday's session in sunny conditions

Root walks back from the nets at Lord’s during Tuesday’s session in sunny conditions

The English captain will train with strength and conditioning coach Phil Scott on Tuesday

The English captain will train with strength and conditioning coach Phil Scott on Tuesday

The English captain will train with strength and conditioning coach Phil Scott on Tuesday

“We’ve been saying for a long time that we plan to go to that series,” he said. “You talk about preparing a side – winning seven tests before going to Australia is the best way to do that, filling the side with confidence.

“Implementing that game plan that we often talk about, being smart about taking 20 wickets, big runs in the first innings – these are things that work well in these conditions, but also in Australia.

“Playing against the two best teams in the world is a great opportunity for these players. If we keep growing, learning, improving ourselves, with our full focus on these two series, we’ll be in a good place when the Ashes come along.”

The England captain took a dive in a slip-fielding practice as new wicketkeeper James Bracey looks on

The England captain took a dive in a slip-fielding practice as new wicketkeeper James Bracey looks on

The England captain took a dive in a slip-fielding practice as new wicketkeeper James Bracey looks on

Stuart Broad becomes Joe Root's vice-captain for England's first test with New Zealand at Lord's

Stuart Broad becomes Joe Root's vice-captain for England's first test with New Zealand at Lord's

Stuart Broad becomes Joe Root’s vice-captain for England’s first test with New Zealand at Lord’s

Broad speaks with Captain Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood ahead of the opening test

Broad speaks with Captain Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood ahead of the opening test

Broad speaks with Captain Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood ahead of the opening test

England and New Zealand will join in a ‘moment of unity’ before the match, standing quietly on the border as part of the cricket campaign against all forms of discrimination. Root said his players would participate this summer in three projects aimed at bringing the game to diverse, underrepresented and hard-to-reach communities in an effort to convince those who felt left out by cricket that it is a sport for everyone.

“The beginning of last summer has exposed some ugly truths in society and in our sport,” he said. “We spent a lot of time talking about how we can improve our game, how we can educate ourselves more. With the projects we can keep looking to grow the game.’

Meanwhile, Kiwi captain Kane Williamson has brushed aside concerns that his side will be shocked in their first game at Lord’s since the 2019 World Cup final, which England won in the countdown from the border after a draw and a super over.

James Bracey becomes England's wicketkeeper for the opening Test match of the summer

James Bracey becomes England's wicketkeeper for the opening Test match of the summer

James Bracey becomes England’s wicketkeeper for the opening Test match of the summer

Bracey has joined the team after Ben Foakes' injury and will make his test debut

Bracey has joined the team after Ben Foakes' injury and will make his test debut

Bracey has joined the team after Ben Foakes’ injury and will make his test debut

“It was a fantastic game of cricket,” he said. “It’s a different side now, and a time has passed since that day. Our focus is on the cricket we want to play as a test side – we don’t think about that day. We were both part of a great game that was largely defined by things beyond the control of either team.”

New Zealand won just one of their 17 Lord’s Tests in 1999, but Williamson was unimpressed as his team prepared for the World Test Championship final against India at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton later this month.

“Historical statistics don’t count too much,” he said. “But we still know that the challenge is great. England are incredibly clinical in their condition.’

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson addresses his team before their net session

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson addresses his team before their net session

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson addresses his team before their net session

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