Joe Root is the shinning star for English cricket © Getty Images
Joe Root continues his fluent run with his fifth Test ton in the final Test of the series against India at the Oval. Abhijit Banare looks at Root’s innings and his consistent run.
At present only three cricketers have notched up more than 1,000 runs in 2014 and inevitable all are from Sri Lanka. If there had to be any non-Lankan cricketer in contention then it was to be England’s Joe Root. He is currently fifth on the list of highest scorers this year. Since England won’t be playing a Test this year Root might miss that opportunity. There’s no doubt that Root’s sublime form has been the key to England’s fight back since the Ashes disaster.
Root has been so consistent that centuries from his bat aren’t a surprise anymore. The Yorkshireman has ticked all boxes one would desire in a complete as a Test batsman. He is a composed figure at the crease, he has absorbed the pressure and delivered consistently. And the reassuring factor is the combination of a sound technique and good temperament. When you have either of them, you might often be termed as a talented batsman. But with both these qualities then not many would disagree that here is a ’100-Test player’(as Michael Clarke referred Phil Hughes recently).
Time and again in this series, Root’s innings has been crucial in staging England’s revival and The Oval was no different. At 229 for five, England could’ve still slipped on the second day. With a fresh face in Jos Buttler at No 7, the duo took England to a dominating position. Finding himself in such situations more frequently, Root has developed the habit of bailing his team out just like Virat Kohli in big run-chases. The maturity with which he batted with James Anderson at Trent Bridge, the fighting 66 in the second innings at Lord’s, another one at Southampton and Manchester is really exciting for English cricket. His ability to strike when the team needs the most makes him an invaluable asset. It in a way reminds of VVS Laxman’s contribution for India at No 5 and No 6. Root has achieved all this at an age of 23. Though he has had a dip in form and has also fought back well.
While Root has scored big, not to forget the contribution of Gary Ballance and Ian Bell at No 3 and No 4 respectively. When you’ve have the middle-order that settled, England selectors would feel assured of a steady future for the team. Root has ticked all boxes of a complete cricketer. But the next big challenge from hereon would be to score overseas and it will be a similar challenge for Ballance.
What separates him from the other young faces like Ballance and Moeen Ali is the possibility of him being handed the captaincy. There were already rumours about Root being handed the role with Alastair Cook’s failure. But with Cook finding his form, it allows Root to continue piling on runs in the near future.
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(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)