London: England captain Joe Root said on Thursday he wants his players to give it their all in the third Test with Pakistan which gets underway this week as it could be their last for a while.
England lead 1-0 and have to avoid defeat at the Ageas Bowl on Friday to seal what would be their first series win over Pakistan in 10 years.
It would make it a perfect summer having beaten the West Indies 2-1 earlier in the season.
England’s next scheduled Test series is in India in the new year but the coronavirus pandemic may make that impossible — playing it in the United Arab Emirates could be a possibility.
However, Root says the players should perform as if this is the last Test till next summer and “leave no stone unturned.”
“My message to the guys today was quite simple really,” he said at his eve of match press conference.
“We don’t know when the next time is that we’ll play Test cricket.
“Let’s make sure we leave no stones unturned and we give everything to each other and the badge going into this last game.
“I fully expect everyone to give everything over the next five days and make sure we give ourselves the best chance of finishing the series 2-0.”
Root, who missed their only Test defeat of the summer in the first clash with the West Indies due to becoming a father, said even playing without spectators beat what he feared might happen at the beginning of the season.
“We feel extremely lucky to have got the opportunity to play right now,” said the 29-year-old.
“At the start of the summer, we were dreading the thought of not seeing any international cricket.”
Root paid tribute to both the West Indies and Pakistan for agreeing to tour and having to live in a bubble to reduce the risk of them getting the virus.
“Credit to both touring teams for coming over and giving us that opportunity to play, and to both boards,” said Root.
“It’s been amazing to be a part of this experience. Hopefully, we can have a great finish to it.
“There’s been some really exciting games and I think it’s made for some entertaining viewing at times.”