Chris Waters: Joe Root now proving England’s man for all formats

England's Joe Root celebrates scoring a century against West Indies at the Kensington Oval. Picture: AP/Ricardo Mazalan)
England's Joe Root celebrates scoring a century against West Indies at the Kensington Oval. Picture: AP/Ricardo Mazalan)
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A TWEET caught my eye the other day.

“The Earth is 4.543 billion years old, but somehow we managed to exist at the same time as Joe Root,” declared the online sports betting company bet365.

England's Joe Root celebrates scoring a century against West Indies during the 3rd One Day International at the Kensington Oval. Picture: AP/Ricardo Mazalan

England's Joe Root celebrates scoring a century against West Indies during the 3rd One Day International at the Kensington Oval. Picture: AP/Ricardo Mazalan

As compliments go, it was one of the more original to have graced the Twittersphere.

In other words, the chances of us all being around to watch and enjoy Root’s batting are pretty astronomical when you think about it.

For that, we should genuinely be grateful.

On the flipside, as bet365 might have added, the Earth is 4.543 billion years old, but somehow we managed to exist at the same time as Twitter.

It has certainly been another great week in what is turning into a great year for the Yorkshireman

YP cricket writer, Chris Waters

But, as they say, you cannot have everything.

Better to consider our glass half-full rather than half-empty, and to make the most of Root’s heavenly skills while we can.

It has certainly been another great week in what is turning into a great year for the Yorkshireman, who recently became a first-time father and the new England Test captain.

If Carlsberg did years, they would probably do Root’s 2017 to date, which continued with a bang when he helped England to a 3-0 whitewash in their one-day series in the West Indies.

After scoring an unbeaten 90 in the series-clinching second game in Antigua, Root scored 101 – his ninth ODI hundred – in the final match in Bridgetown.

As versatile as he is valuable, the 26-year-old continues to be a man for all formats.

Root’s runs in the Caribbean saw him achieve a career-best ODI ranking yesterday of fourth in the latest International Cricket Council list.

Both he and Alex Hales were the big winners for England, with the Nottinghamshire man climbing to his own career-high of 16th on the back of a splendid 110 in the Bridgetown game.

Root and Hales added 192 for the second wicket in 31 overs, laying the platform for a thumping win by 186 runs.

They complemented each other beautifully at the crease.

A mention, in passing, for Yorkshire’s Liam Plunkett.

The pace bowler was the leading wicket-taker in the series with 10 at 9.90, thus significantly enhancing his claims for a place in England’s Champions Trophy team later in the year.

Plunkett’s performance saw him climb 36 places to 23rd on the ICC list.

Just Chris Woakes (ninth) and Adil Rashid (14th) are ahead of him now among England bowlers.

The men ahead of Root in the batting chart are South Africa’s AB de Villiers, Australia’s David Warner and India’s Virat Kohli.

Hales is next on the list from an English perspective, with Jason Roy one place behind him in 17th, Jos Buttler in 18th and captain Eoin Morgan in 20th position.

It shows not only how far Root is ahead of other English players, but also how wrong it is to think of him just as a Test match batsman.

Indeed, in addition to a Test average of 52.80, Root averages 47.77 in ODIs and 40.33 in T20 internationals, emphasising again that great versatility.

Because Root is not a biffer of the ball in, say, the manner of Buttler or indeed Hales in full cry, it is easy to underestimate his one-day skills.

But he has always been a terrific one-day player, which can be overlooked simply because his Test match record is so exceptional.

Indeed, Root’s last 12 ODI innings read: 65, 93, 61, 89, 85, 30, 9, 78, 54, 4, 90* and 101.

If there have been isolated quibbles about his conversion rate, it is a bit like moaning that some of Lionel Messi’s performances are not quite as good as some of his others.

Root, of course, has improvements to make.

He has spoken himself of the need to turn more half-centuries into three-figure scores.

But he now has 20 international hundreds to go with 47 fifties, and he is coming towards the peak of his career.

Forget what he has done already – what lies ahead may be even more special.

The Test captaincy, in fact, is more likely than not to bring the best out of him.

Like many great sportsmen, he thrives on extra responsibility and the challenges it brings, so do not be surprised to see him take his game to another level.

Kohli, the great Indian master, has done that since taking charge of the India side, and Root is cut from the same fine fabric.

There is no limit to what he could achieve in the next few years – nor to what England could potentially accomplish under his command.