Joe Root admits friendship with Ben Stokes will be cast aside when their sides clash in the Hundred

‘Friendship goes one way’: Joe Root admits close relationship with Ben Stokes will be put aside when his Trent Rockers squad takes on the Northern Superchargers in the Hundred

  • The Trent Rockets face the Northern Superchargers on Monday nightavond
  • It means good friends Joe Root and Ben Stokes are facing each other
  • The friendship is set aside for the captain and vice-captain of England

Joe Root braces for some fiery words from Ben Stokes when two of English cricket’s biggest stars go head to head in The Hundred.

As captain and vice-captain of the England Test team, Root and Stokes are fat as thieves and mostly best friends, but find themselves pulling in opposite directions on Monday night.

Root is the tent name on the Trent Rockets team and Stokes was the tent pole signing of Northern Superchargers meaning both men are under pressure to perform on their final appearance before resuming international service together.

As captain and vice-captain of England, Joe Root and Ben Stokes are best friends

Joe Root is the big name in the Trent Rockets squad

Ben Stokes' Northern Superchargers will clash with Root's side on Monday

The pair will face off against their respective sides in the Hundred clash on Monday

Seeing the pair face off in the middle is the kind of box office attraction tournament organizers have dreamed of, and Root has promised it will be a lively affair if given the chance.

“It’ll be fun, but Ben will have some things to say to me, I’m sure,” he said.

“Every time we play a practice game or a warm-up, if I hit it before four, I can have it! You can see I really turn him on. The friendship is set aside for half an hour.

“I’m sure that will add something to it, so hopefully you’ll see a lot of that. But I don’t want to upset Ben, so I’ll try to keep my head low.’

Once the game is over and bragging rights secured, Root and Stokes will be back on the same page as they begin plotting India’s demise in the upcoming Test series, which kicks off at Trent Bridge on August 4.

That will prove an interesting barometer for the new league, which launched to healthy ratings amid a marketing blitz. It’s uncertain how engagement levels will hold up when faced with a blue chip test series, but while Root is clear about where his priorities lie, he sees no reason why it couldn’t be a win-win situation.

“Test cricket is still the pinnacle of the game, and it should always be the foundation,” he said.

“But I don’t think this (The Hundred) is here to challenge it, I think it’s here to be there. I would like to think that they bounce on each other, that one will drag an audience to the other.

It should be enjoyed both as, not instead of. I think that’s exactly how you should look at it, as a gateway for a new audience getting into a brilliant sport. It could be a platform to enjoy the longer form of the game. The more people watching the game, the better.

Root (right) says their friendship will be set aside for half an hour during the match

Root (right) says their friendship will be set aside for half an hour during the match

“That’s the exciting thing for us, it’s an opportunity to evolve, to move forward, beyond the traditional nature and all the brilliance that Test cricket already has.”

When Twenty20 first emerged as a light-hearted English domestic competition in 2003, it became so popular, so quickly, that it was almost immediately adopted at international level and had its own World Cup within four years.

Root doesn’t rule out the idea that The Hundred will one day find a place in an already overcrowded global schedule, but believes the less crowded women’s calendar would be the most likely starting point.

“I think the most important thing is that it is a success first here in the UK, that we give it the best chance to do that as players,” he said.

“But I don’t see why it wouldn’t happen. I think a lot of good will come out of the back of the tournament. One of the biggest things is the platform that the women’s game offers. Hopefully it will continue to grow and maybe make it to the international stage first, via women’s cricket?’