Cast your minds to the fourth test match of the Ashes series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and picture the scenario. Joe Root had got out for a measly 27 and was struggling to match up against the Australian bowling department and in particular the bombardment of pace from Mitchell Johnson. This was a young batsman that by the end of the series had only contributed one score of 30+ plus throughout and was considered to be an overrated young talent with no shots and strokes. A year on from the humiliation in Australia, he now finds himself the number one test batsman in the world and a position not so long ago would have been seen as a world away.
In the face of adversity and trouble you learn more about yourself as a person. It is a sign that self-improvement must be made and one where only you can work with. For Joe Root, it could not be further from the truth. Here is a batsman that has worked extensively on his technique ever since struggling so badly for form in his early England career. There is no doubting that at Yorkshire, the country where he plays, that the coaching and the success of Jason Gillespie has been a huge factor in this improvement. Here is a man that has arguably created the greatest Yorkshire side of a generation with back to back county championships and has given him the opportunity to showcase his skills. The transformation can be seen in the way he now scores runs quickly when occupying the crease and how he is willing to take opposition bowlers on.
Always playing on the front foot
Much of Joe Root’s technique can be credited to the way he plays on the front foot and looks to go after bowlers for runs. Many will say this exposes his stumps and risks LBW but it should be treated as a strength. He has become comfortable and this allows him to come forward and play a range of strokes that can be particular useful against the spinners. Historically, English batsman have struggled against spin but during the recent test matches against Pakistan fans should pay close attention to how he has been eager to test his skills and look for boundaries.
This has been apparent ever since the 2014 summer test matches against Sri Lanka and how it helped him score that maiden double century at Lords. In some ways that was to be the innings that really led to the rise of Joe Root because since then he has gone from strength to strength. From helping England win back the Ashes with two hundreds to becoming the youngest batsman to 3,000 test runs. On current form and if he can maintain the standard he is setting then at the age of 24 he should be setting sights for 12,000 plus runs and joining some of the greatest cricketers that has ever lived. He may even consider following in Alastair Cook’s footsteps and become the all-time top run scorer in tests for England.
The captaincy may be in his sights too but there has always been that shadow that being captain has been a hindrance to players resulting in poor form and unnecessary added pressure, so for now it may good for him to wait a few years before taking on that position. A loss of form would be a big blow to England considering the importance of runs he has scored. Not to mention the loss of runs amongst the middle order during the tour of Pakistan. It will also be a good test of his ability when the England side visit South Africa for a tour in December and one which should see him come up against a good experienced bowling attack.
What cannot be underestimated however is that England will be hoping that Joe Root will continue to be effective and with a 2015 average of 67.26 via ESPNcricinfo and this year he should be applauded for the way he has been re-born from a perilous time not so long ago.