England captain Joe Root says he still believes his team can once again become a force in Test cricket, despite a winless winter.
The Yorkshire batsman has just completed his first year at the helm of the England Test team and has already had to overcome plenty of obstacles in his short time as skipper.
Root oversaw Test series victories against South Africa and West Indies on home soil last summer but found the winter much harder going.
England were routed in the Ashes series 4-0 by Australia before going on to lose the following series 1-0 against New Zealand.
Draws in Melbourne and Christchurch offered the tourists crumbs of comfort as their struggles away from home continued, England failing to win any of their last 12 Test matches on the road.
Root believes the current England squad will have learnt a lot from the winter and is confident they will become a stronger unit as a result of the experience.
"There have been a few ups and downs along the way but we've become a lot tighter as a group and I think we'll be a better team for that," he told Sky Sports. "I think it can be a great launch pad for us now to really move forward and make big strides in Test cricket."
Ahead of this summer's series against Pakistan and India, Root believes the performance of his team in the final Test against New Zealand offered plenty of encouragement looking to the future.
"I thought coming into that last Test match and the way we played over those five days, we played some really good cricket. If the light had held out a little bit more on a few of the other days or on that final day, it might have been a very different end to a difficult winter," he added.
"But there has been a lot to show me, especially in that team, that we can get to where we want to get to. It's going to take a long time, it's not going to happen overnight but there is everything there that shows we can be a force to be reckoned with."
While the Test team have struggled, England's one-day side have gone from strength-to-strength and are 3.25 to win the 2019 World Cup.
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