Joe Rott    Getty Images (File Image)
Joe Rott Getty Images (File Image)

England batsman Joe Root had a torrid time against India’s Kuldeep Yadav getting dismissed for 0 in the 1st T20I and 3 in the 1st ODI, but the 27-year-old made up for his earlier troubles against the Chinaman bowler with two consecutive centuries. And for that success, Root has ‘going back to the basics’ to thank for.

The top-order batsman said he’d gone back to basics in working out how to play Kuldeep rather than use the Merlyn spin-bowling machine for practice. “I didn’t use Merlyn on this occasion. I looked at the three balls I faced and got out to – one thing that’s very easy to do is over-analyse things, over-think things,” said Root.

“I felt like I was picking him (Kuldeep) fine and when you look at it for what it actually was, both games my movements weren’t quick enough and I wasn’t getting close enough to the ball, either going forward or back,” said Root adding,”The best players of spin in the world, their footwork is always sharp and when that contact point is there, you’re as still as possible,” added Root, who said his training regime was “literally under-arm feeds, trying to get close to the ball, simple as that and the mind-set of either giving myself as much time as possible or smothering the spin.”

It must be said that Root was not the only batsman who struggled against Kuldeep initially, with the bowler running through the English batting on more than one occasion in the limited-over encounters. Kuldeep’s incredible return of six for 25 at Trent Bridge was the best by any left arm spinner in ODIs.

But come the 2nd ODI at Lord’s and there was a different Root on display who was determined and surefooted when playing the Chinaman bowler. What was noticeable was the ease with which Root rocked on to the back-foot and waited for the balls pitched back of a length and equally appreciable was his confidence in going fully forward when the ball was pitched up. Root’s 113 not out saw England to an 86-run win that levelled things up at 1-1 before his national record 13th ODI hundred completed a come-from-behind 2-1 win in a three-match series.

England are likely to face Kuldeep in the Test series too after he was included in India’s squad for the first three fixtures of a five-match series that starts at Birmingham on August 1. With the summer being drier in England compared to the earlier years, spin could be a useful arsenal for both teams in the Test series.

England are currently placed at number 5 in ICC Test rankings and they are up against the top-ranked Indian side which is willing to conquer new frontiers under the resurgent leadership of Virat Kohli.

Root also urged the Test side to follow the England one-day team’s desire for individual and collective improvement, which was fuelled in part by a woeful first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. “It’s something we are trying really hard to replicate within the Test team,” Root said. “Hopefully over time, and it’s not something that will happen overnight, we’ll see big improvements long-term within the group,” added the 27-year-old, now second in the latest ICC ODI batting rankings, behind India captain Virat Kohli, published Wednesday.

“It’s about putting the hard yards in and doing that extra bit of work and sometimes doing the stuff that doesn’t always make you feel good but ultimately will make you a better player,” Root signed off.

(With Inputs from AFP)