LONDON (AFP) – England batsman Joe Root is determined to put the controversial attack he suffered at the hands of Australia's David Warner behind him as he prepares for his first Ashes series.
It is nearly three weeks since Root took a glancing blow from Warner in a Birmingham bar after the Australia opener was apparently angered by the sight of the Yorkshire batsman wearing a green and gold wig following England's victory over arch-rivals Australia in the Champions Trophy.
Warner was subsequently suspended by Cricket Australia until the start of the first Ashes Test in Nottingham on July 10 while the 22-year-old Root was exonerated of all blame by the England and Wales Cricket Board for what they deemed an "unprovoked attack"
"It's all done now. I hope we can move on," Root said Saturday ahead of England's Ashes warm-up four-day match against Essex at Chelmsford, east of London, starting on Sunday.
"David Warner has apologised; I've accepted it.
"As far as I'm concerned, that's all behind us."
That the incident appeared to have had no lasting effect on Root could be seen from the fact that within four days he was playing in England's next match, where he made a fifty against Sri Lanka at The Oval.
"It's not ideal ... but you've just got to try to concentrate on your cricket," Root added.
"I managed to do that, and hope I can take the confidence from that into the rest of the summer."
Root scored his maiden Test hundred, and on his Headingley home ground too, against New Zealand last month as England completed a 2-0 series win.
However, interest and pressure will only intensify during the Ashes, still considered the pinnacle of cricket by most people involved in the English game.
"There's a lot more media attention," said Root, set to open for England for the first time, having so far been used as a middle-order batsman, after being announced as the preferred partner for captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order by national selector Geoff Miller.
"But it's just the same, 11 blokes like any other game.
"I'm just trying to get my head round tomorrow, and take it step by step."
However, Root was in no mood to downplay the importance of the Ashes.
"It's what I always dreamt of, growing up," he said.
"That's what you want to play in -- those big occasions."