WILL FRAINE is expecting big things from county team-mate Joe Root and the England side he captains ahead of what promises to be a memorable year of Test Match cricket.

England begin a busy schedule with a two-Test series in Sri Lanka on Thursday (4.30am GMT) before home and away series against powerhouses India, a home series against Pakistan, a possible World Test Championship final and an away Ashes series at the end of the year.

Root and co have it all to do to reach the World Test Championship final, due to take place at Lord’s in June.

England are currently fourth in the table behind leaders Australia, India and newly crowned world number one side New Zealand.

It would take a seriously impressive run of form for England to qualify for the final as things stand, maybe even replicating what Kane Williamson’s Kiwis have just done to become the ICC’s top ranked side - win six Tests in a row.

But Yorkshire batsman Fraine would not be surprised to see them get on a roll, starting in Galle.

“They definitely have the makings of being the best side in the world,” said Fraine, of Root’s troops. “And I think they’re pretty close.

“We have the best opening bowlers in the world at the moment (Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad), and some young guys who are only going to keep improving in Burns, Sibley, Crawley, Pope and Bessy. Then there’s Stokes, Rooty, Buttler and Archer.

“The squad they have is very strong, and there’s strength below that, which is a huge credit to the work being done in the county game.

“The great thing about England is that they have so much improvement in them, but you still wouldn’t be surprised if they got on a roll immediately and went and won in Sri Lanka and India. That would really set the year up.

“If they don’t, people shouldn’t panic. It will happen for them in time.”

Fraine expects England, who have actually won their last three series, to “get the job done” in Sri Lanka, where there will be significant Yorkshire interest in the form of Root, new signing Dom Bess and Jonny Bairstow, who has been recalled to the national side.

With six Tests in the spin-friendly conditions of Sri Lanka and India over the next couple of months, before he returns to begin a four-year deal with the White Rose, Fraine believes off-spinner Bess will be a better developed cricketer than the one he was when he put pen to paper on his Emerald Headingley contract in September.

“Bessy is a really big prospect, and his worth ethic and love for the game is exceptional,” said Fraine.

“He’s a year younger than me (23) and has improved massively.

“I remember when I was a county trialist, I played for the Combined Universities side against him in a second-team game. The summer after (2018), he played for England. It’s amazing, and credit to him.

“He’s a very wily bowler who knows exactly what he wants and where he wants to get to.

“I know he’ll work so hard over the next few months, and bowling against the very best in Sri Lanka and, more so, India, he will come on leaps and bounds.

“That’s great for England and for us. We can’t wait to have him around.”

While Root and Bess are certain starters this week, as long as injury or illness does not strike, Bairstow is not.