|Venue: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai Date: 5-9 Feb Time: 04:00 GMT|
|Coverage: Live text commentary plus analysis and debate on The Cricket Social on the BBC Sport website and app. Daily Test Match Special podcasts|
As Joe Root prepares to play his 100th Test, younger brother and Glamorgan batsman Billy reveals what it was like growing up with a future England legend.
Cricket is ingrained in our family.
My grandad was one of five boys who played and my dad was a very good player. Joe and I were glued to a bat from no age. My earliest memories are of going to watch one of Dad’s games with Mum and Joe.
Any opportunity to play, we’d take it. We’d go on holiday to places like Greece and take a bat and ball. The locals would be saying “what’s this you’re doing?”
It’s well known that we all played for Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club. It started with me and Joe having games on the boundary during dad’s matches, all the way up to the three of us playing together in the first team.
Almost all of the time, the games I played with Joe were friendly. You know how it is – if the older brother wants to bat, he bats.
There was one time at Scarborough when I did get the hump. Joe had batted forever and when I did finally get him out, he claimed I was lbw to the first ball I faced.
I’d had enough. The bat went, the pads went. Joe reckons I chased him with the bat, but I actually only threw it at him. Luckily, Dad was fielding on the boundary and came to sort us out.
Because Collegiate didn’t have an under-11s team, the first competitive cricket we played was for Rotherham Town, just around the corner from Grandad’s house.
The first game of cricket I played was a pairs game and I was batting with Joe. He faced five balls in the over and wanted the strike for the next one, so he belted the ball to point and ran. I was run out by half the length of the pitch.
That was the last time we got paired together in an under-11s game, but there were plenty of other times when we had partnerships for Collegiate, the Yorkshire academy and the second XI.
One time, when we were teenagers, we were playing against Doncaster. Joe opened and I was batting at number four.
He was on about 49 when I got to the crease and, six overs later, I was on 32 and he’d just gone past 50. I said: “I’ll race you to a hundred.” When I was on 98, he had 60, only for me to get out. By the end, he was 140 not out. He came off and said: “The tortoise always beats the hare.”
It was awesome for Dad, Joe and I to play together in the same team – we managed it for about a season and a half – but the real credit has to go to Mum.
So often, Dad would be working, so it was left to Mum to take us to Headingley for practice on a Tuesday or a Wednesday night, hang around for two hours, then take us back to Sheffield.
Also, with three males in the house playing cricket so many times a week, there were a lot of whites to wash, and neither Dad, Joe nor I were the best when it came to that. Mum, however, is probably the best whites-washer in the world. There isn’t a stain she can’t get out.
As well as cricket, there was always music in the house. Dad is decent on the guitar and my uncle Jamie, my mum’s brother, is an absolute wizard.
I can play a few chords, but I’m not as dedicated to it as Joe. I don’t know where the ukulele came from, though. That must be a product of the long days on tour.
Joe’s ascent to the England team came pretty quickly. As much as he has always been able to rise to the next challenge put in front of him, one occasion when he was still in the Yorkshire second team sticks in my mind.
He’d grown about six inches in the space of a few months, so his balance at the crease was all over the place. He kept getting out lbw.
From nowhere, after a run of about six innings when he didn’t get past 10, he made a beautiful 170 against Warwickshire. How he managed to work that out showed to me he would be able to handle any adversity that might be ahead.
Even as he became more and more recognisable to fans and the public, he remained the big brother I have always known.
In the Ashes Test at Lord’s at 2013, I was 12th man for England. When I went into the dressing room, Joe said: “You sit next to me. You’ll be alright – as long as you don’t mess with my gloves.” He was telling me all the things I needed to know, really looking after me.
Joe made a hundred in that game. For me to be inside the ropes, up close as he did, it was a really special moment.
The same can be said for when he asked me to be best man at his wedding to Carrie. It was a lovely day and a beautiful wedding.
Joe was just as cool then as he is at the crease. I had my speech all prepped and ready to go. It didn’t seem too much of a problem when I looked out at our family and friends.
Then, with a glance to my right, I saw about 15 England players. The nerves ramped up when I realised I was about to address a pretty handy Test team, but I’m told it went down well.
We have only played against each other once in professional cricket – Dad actually tweeted a picture of Joe driving me to the game when his Yorkshire met my Nottinghamshire in 2017.
We had played against each other before, but this was the first and only time that the jokes stopped and we were focused on our jobs. Even though at the back of my mind I didn’t want him to fail, I was there to win.
On a tricky pitch and in a low chase, Joe showed what a good player he is by leading Yorkshire to their target.
I was bowling right at the end. Trying to get Joe to do something he wouldn’t normally do, I told Stuart Broad to come closer in the field, saying loud enough for Joe to hear that I didn’t think he would hit it very far.
Joe was two steps ahead of me. As I floated one up, he launched me for six, over Stuart’s head. He had no time for his little brother’s mind games.
Back in the days when we were playing on the boundary during Dad’s matches, or when he was running me out in Rotherham Town games, if you’d told me he was going to play 100 Tests, I’d have agreed with you, because his technique was so good.
He was small, so he didn’t hit it very far, but no-one could get him out. Michael Vaughan used to come to Collegiate, see Joe bat and say: “He’s going to play for England.”
It’s been a journey for the whole family. When Joe’s playing, Mum, Dad, Carrie and I are really nervous because we want him to do well.
That probably sounds a bit silly, because he’s been doing it for so long and is one of the best players in the world.
That’s just how it is, though. We’re all immensely proud of him.
BIlly Root was speaking to BBC Sport’s Stephan Shemilt.