Graham Thorpe welcomes Joe Root into England’s exclusive 100 club

GRAHAM THORPE, one of only 14 men to have played 100 Test matches for England, last night prepared to welcome Joe Root into the exclusive club and described him as “a great student of the game” who “loves learning”.

Root will become the second Yorkshireman after Sir Geoffrey Boycott (108 Tests) to reach the milestone in the first Test against India in Chennai starting on Friday.

The England captain has only been playing Test cricket for a little over eight years – he made his debut against India at Nagpur in December 2012, since when he has racked up 8,249 runs at 49.39, the highest average of anyone in England’s 100-club.

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It is a mark of how much cricket has changed since Boycott’s time that Boycott’s 100-plus appearances spanned the best part of 18 years from June 1964, with far more Test cricket now than used to be the case.

Joe Root, the England captain holds the 'Moose Clothing Cup 2021' on day four of the second Test match between Sri Lanka and England at Galle ( Picture: Sri Lanka cricket via ECB)

Consequently, there is time for Root to push up towards 200 appearances – a mark that has only been reached by one man: Sachin Tendulkar, Yorkshire’s first overseas player.

But, even if he does not quite match Tendulkar’s tally, Root is well on course to pass Sir Alastair Cook – England’s record Test appearance holder (161), and also Cook’s record for the most Test runs by an England player (12,472). James Anderson (157 appearances) is also bearing down on Cook.

Thorpe, the England assistant coach who played 100 Tests exactly between 1993 and 2005, said of Root: “To play 100 Test matches is no mean feat, and Joe will be very proud, and his family will be very proud too. It is a real achievement because of the longevity of it, and you need a good sense of humour to play that amount of cricket because you will experience highs but there will be some moments in there where you have your lows.

“You have to show a bit of character and resilience, you have to keep adapting and sometimes you will have to tinker with your technique and you have to manage all of that. Joe has always remained very humble, he is a great student of the game and loves learning. He loves watching other people play and he is someone who doesn’t want to stand still and has a great hunger to score.

“What I saw early on, and I was fortunate enough to see in some of his early games, was character.

“He had a great work ethic, and tried to work things out for himself.”

Root goes into the four-match series in thunderous form, having scored 426 runs in two Tests against Sri Lanka, including innings of 228 and 186.