Charles Tyrwhitt ambassador Joe Root explains how cricketers stay match fit all year round…

With the men’s 2023 Ashes finally poised at England 1-2 Australia – with just two Tests to play – MF caught up with the man many think holds the key to England’s hopes.

Since making his debut against India in 2012, Joe Root has passed an extraordinary 11,000 Test runs. In the process, he’s established himself as perhaps the greatest batsman this country has ever seen.

Despite his success, he lives by the mantra ‘You never stop learning’, and that humble mindset is matched by a relentless work ethic.

So what does physical conditioning look like for a modern great? Has it changed much since Root turned pro? And is it a side of the game he enjoys, or is it just a necessary part of the job?

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Men’s Fitness: How has your physical preparation changed over your career?

Joe Root: When I started out, I saw cricket as very much a skill-based game, especially as a batter. I used to spend the majority of my time just trying to make sure my skill work was sound.

But as the years have gone by, I’ve played more cricket and the schedule has become more gruelling, I’ve had to be smarter about the physical side of things.

MF: What does that new approach to fitness look like?

JR: Probably since Covid – an extended period of time where I could do more physical stuff – I felt that I’ve managed my body a lot better.

Physical training has become a more frequent and important part of my game. Throughout the IPL [Indian Premier League] I tried to do three to four gym sessions a week in terms of weights, and then two or three running sessions – alongside obviously the training that we’ll do in the matches.

MF: Any lessons learned in the gym you can pass on to MF readers?

JR: Ha, I don’t know about that! But I think one thing that has worked well for me is trying to condense things a little bit more.

I don’t like spending hours in the gym, I go for 30-40 minutes of really hard work. That often means a lot of stuff around speed and power.

I was always a little bit wary of squatting and lifting heavy, just because I had a few back issues when I was younger. I didn’t really trust my technique well enough. But by building things up slowly and taking my ego out of the equation, lowering weights and then building things back up again, I feel really confident with it.

I’m feeling the benefits from it physically and am in a really good place heading into a crucial six to eight months.

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Joe Root poses in short-sleeved shirt and pink shorts