"Don’t think he gets his balance of attack and defense right" - Alastair Cook on Joe Root's struggles to fit into England's Bazball style

India  v England - 2nd Test Match: Day Four
India v England - 2nd Test Match: Day Four

Former England captain Alastair Cook feels Joe Root's ungainly dismissal in the final innings of the second Test against India resulted from the star batter trying to fit into the Bazball style of batting.

With the game tantalizingly poised, Root came out all guns blazing and raced to 16 off nine deliveries. However, the risky batting style led to Root's downfall as he tried an ugly hoick on the leg side off Ravichandran Ashwin, only to be caught off a miscue at the backward point region.

His dismissal reduced England to 154/4 in their run-chase of 399 as the visitors eventually suffered a 106-run defeat.

Speaking on TNT Sports at the end of the game, Cook pointed to Root's struggles in maintaining the right tempo in the Bazball era.

"He sees all these other people playing these aggressive shots, which suit their style. Rooty has got 11,500 Test runs, he’s brilliant, but he’s so desperate to fit in to what Ben [Stokes] and Brendon [McCullum] are doing that sometimes I don’t think he gets his balance of attack and dedefenseight," said Cook.

Cook added:

"He’s England’s best batsman there’s ever been in all formats – but he does struggle sometimes with the tempo of this Bazball era."

Root has scored just 52 runs so far in the two Tests against India at a paltry average of 13. The champion batter smashed three centuries in four Tests since the beginning of England's Bazball era under head coach Brendon McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes in mid-2022.

However, he has often been guilty of playing over-the-top risky shots against his natural game, leading to his downfall.

"That’s when I love watching Joe Root bat" - Alastair Cook

India v England - 2nd Test Match: Day Four
India v England - 2nd Test Match: Day Four

Alastair Cook stated his joy in watching Joe Root bat at a healthy strike rate despite taking no risks.

Root is England's second leading run-scorer in Tests, with almost 11,500 runs at an average of 49.64, including 30 centuries.

"He was on 16 off nine balls and he doesn’t normally strike at that rate – he’s normally striking at 75 to 80, which is still incredibly high for a Test match strike-rate, with zero risk. That’s when I love watching Joe Root bat," said Cook.

The former England captain believes Root was in no control during his short stay on Day 4 of the second Test. Despite striking two boundaries and a maximum in his first nine deliveries, the star batter was playing high-risk shots.

"When he gets in, you call it early – I’ve called it early a few times on sub-continent days: he’s on 15 but he’s getting a hundred here. He’s going to milk them at his will, sweeps, all in control. I don’t think today he was in that control," concluded Cook.

In the first Test, Root overtook former Australian captain Ricky Ponting as the leading run-scorer against India in Tests.

Despite his dismal showing in the ongoing series, the 33-year-old completed 1000 Test runs in India during the final innings of the just-concluded second Test.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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