Joe Root: The baby-faced assassin
He may not be as innovative as Kevin Pietersen, as classy as Alastair Cook or as athletic as Eoin Morgan. Neither should he be when he is better known for being himself. Being true to his name, he is rooted and technically profound. He is the new face of English cricket – Joseph Edward Root.
Do not go on his innocent looks, there is a mature and a strong headed warrior beneath that. You won’t be surprised if you are reading “Joe Root lands return punches on the Kangaroos” or “Joe Root is a precocious talent”.
He indeed is the talk of the town these days. Whether it is the British media or cricket pundits all around the globe, there is a lot of talk about his prodigious talent.
He might be getting the stardom now with the ongoing Ashes series but it all started in 2012 with the tour to India. The young lad was given a middle order slot. Root capitalized the opportunity and scored a well crafted knock of 73 off 229 deliveries in the first innings and an unbeaten 20 in the second innings in the Nagpur Test match that eventually paved way for his team’s first series victory on Indian soil after 28 years.
In the ensuing one-day series, Root displayed a magnificent show of character by consistently scoring runs in every game. He currently holds the world record of being the first batsman to start his ODI career with six consecutive scores above 30.
Coming back to the present, the Ashes was about to commence. Root was named in the probables and the Australians were taken aback when the England thinktank decided to make Root open the batting for them in such an important series.
In the parallel universe,”Warner punching Root” controversy took a toll when the duo was spotted fighting at a pub. Consequently, Warner was dropped from the Australian side on disciplinary grounds whereas Root preferred to answer with his bat in the next game.
In the second Test at Lord’s, the stage was set and the world was about to see an enthralling performance. The baby-faced assassin slaughtered the Australians with a career defining knock of 180. His innings further increased the probability of the Englishmen retaining The Ashes.
In that innings, the balance, the technique and the foot movement used while executing the drives was simply impeccable. I highly regard him as the new ambassador of the copybook style of playing the game.
His strokeplay clearly demonstrates that he knows the value of his wicket and the effort it takes to build one solid inning. Personally, that image when he stood tall and became the youngest Ashes centurion at the holy Lord’s still hovers over my mind, inspires me, gives me the zeal to get up and excel in life.
Right now all I can say is he is going to be the ANDY MURRAY of English cricket some day. In a short span of time, this guy has adapted really well to the conditions at home and the sub-continent. The technique of playing it late, keeping it simple, leaving the swinging good-length deliveries and punishing the loose deliveries has become his signature trademark.
On the bowling front, he is a part-time off spinner and does contribute his part effectively.
Even Geoffrey Boycott could see the young stubborn Geoffrey in Root that day. His Yorkshire mate Michael Vaughan once quoted that he has got the right character to excel on the international stage.
He, at the moment, is the brightest spark and the epitome of discipline in his generation of batsmen out there. I would call him an ace in the wolf pack.