London: In-form England batsman Joe Root says he has the sacked former coach Peter Moores to thank for his rapid rise to international prominence.
Root was dropped at the end of England's Ashes whitewash defeat under Andy Flower's regime last year, but the Yorkshire star went on to average almost 95 in Tests during Moores' second tenure.
And after 12 months in which he has made more than 1,100 Test runs, as well as hitting three one-day international hundreds, Root was voted England's 2014-15 player of the year by members of the media on Monday.
The newly appointed England vice-captain could have been forgiven for playing down Moores' role in his development, given his recent dismissal by new ECB director of cricket Andrew Strauss.
But Root was keen to salute Moores for his work in the nets and he said: "I think (my batting) has improved drastically."
"A lot of credit for that has to go to Peter Moores. Over the past year, he has definitely got the best out of me - along with the rest of the coaching department."
- Double century -
Root struggled for form, as did all England's batsmen, in a miserable 2013-14 Ashes campaign.
But he began his fine run with an unbeaten maiden double century against Sri Lanka at Lord's last year.
As he prepares to try to continue his brilliant form in the corresponding Test a year on, against New Zealand at Lord's starting on Thursday, the 24-year-old needed no prompting to single out the help of Moores, who lost his job following an embarrassingly early exit from the World Cup and a disappointing drawn Test series in the West Indies.
"I think, when I came back from Australia, I realised a lot of the time out there I was trying to work on things I wasn't too good at - and putting all my energy into that, rather than spending more time strengthening the stuff I am good at," Root said.
"Obviously I could still try to tweak things I can improve on, but I just needed to make sure I did more of what I could do well so I didn't lose those."
"Peter saw that and I simplified things as well."
England will be coached on a caretaker basis by Moores' assistant Paul Farbrace in back-to-back Tests against New Zealand, starting on Thursday, but the search for a new number one is already reportedly under way.
Root may well soon team up again with his Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, who is a front-runner, but he is still sad to lose Moores as such a trusted and respected ally.
"He was good to work with, a brilliant coach," Root added.
"He knew how to get the best out of me personally, and I really hope he goes on to do other great jobs within the game."
While Moores is again part of England's past, Root is very much the future - as demonstrated by Strauss' decision to make him Alastair Cook's vice-captain instead of Ian Bell.
"I was delighted, so I accepted straight away - and I am looking forward to the first few games working with Cooky," he said.
"I don't think it will change much - just a bit more responsibility on my part - and if Cooky wants to come up to me for ideas, I will make sure I have something to help him out."