“Root made a fighting 73 and the innings was more about the character he showed. He has a sound technique that would get better and better in times to come if given more opportunities. And most importantly, his authority against the turning ball can prove handy for England in the coming days. The young boy has shown promise and can be one of the pillars of English a batting line-up in the coming days”
He is 21 years old, but boy, he does not look like that he has crossed his 20s, rather looks like a boy who would wake up in the morning, take breakfast, manage his backpack and run for the school. Yeah, he looks like a schoolboy and the smile is so boyish that it fits very well for a Disney Cinema. But, Joe Root is neither a schoolboy nor aspires to feature in a Disney Cinema –miles away from his home town Dore, Sheffield, Yorkshire –Root is proving his worth as a cricketer for the Three Lions at Nagpur.
Root attended King Ecgbert School in Sheffield, and at the age of 15, on a cricket sports scholarship, Worksop College as a weekly boarder.
Like his father Matt Root, he joined Sheffield Collegiate CC, in Abbeydale Park. Former Yorkshire batsman and England captain Michael Vaughan also learned his trade at Collegiate and was a source of inspiration for Root, who became a protégé of his. Root won the ‘player of the tournament’ in the prestigious Bunbury festival.
In 2007, he made his debut for the Yorkshire Second Team against Derbyshire at Abbeydale Park. He continued to represent the Academy side and was named Player of the Tournament as Yorkshire’s Academy won the ProARCH trophy in Abu Dhabi.
After impressing at the Second Team, Root was given the opportunity to represent the Yorkshire Senior Team in the Final of Pro40 at Headingley against Essex. He scored 63, but it was not enough to beat Essex.
In the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, Root scripted an unbeaten 70 in a victory against Hong Kong as England progressed to the quarterfinals but were eliminated by the West Indies.
In the winter of 2010, he was sent to the Darren Lehmann Academy in Adelaide, South Australia, to polish his game further.
In 2011, he made his Championship debut against Worcestershire and it was one of the 15matches Root played that year on top of his England Lions debut against Sri Lanka A. At Scarborough in August 2011, he scored his maiden Championship hundred against Sussex.
This year, Joe Root would discover himself touring with the English team in India.
It was not an all-is-well situation for England before landing on the Indian soil. The team had been beaten by a competent South African side at home, which led to the step down of Andrew Strauss, and then there was that tussle between Kevin Pietersen and the hierarchy of English Cricket, put England in a shaky state. But the current skipper Alastair Cook shrugged off all the prophets of doom and gloom in India and instilled a certain resolve, which helped the team regroup and take the crucial lead in this series.
Root witnessed the turnaround and was hugely motivated.
But he was not expecting to feature in this series until the fourth Test at Nagpur paved the way.
The young man made his debut for England.
For many, his selection was surprising.
He did not have the story like a young David Gower or Marcus Trescothick before Test debut and his first-class was near-modest, but the English think tank spotted something which was enough for them to give him two extensive net sessions ahead of the Test before they invest faith in him.
While the decision to drop Samit Patel, whose spin has been ineffective and who has failed with the bat, was expected, Root was thought to be behind Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan too in the race to replace him.
But with Bairstow having looked unconvincing against spin in Mumbai and Morgan did little to erase the poor impression he made in the UAE – he averaged only 19.00 in the 2012 County Championship season – Root’s ability to play spin won him the place.
Again, his 166 for the England Performance Programme (EPP) a couple of weeks ago came into consideration and Root also made a very good impression on the last EPP and Lions tours where his ability to play spin was identified by Graham Thorpe.
Root wanted to exploit the opportunity and the situation was not a rosy one for the young lad – Ian Bell was dismissed with the score of 119 for 5 and when Pietersen was dismissed, it was 139 for 5. What England required was someone to exhibit the resolve of Cook on a slow deck.
By the time Root was dismissed on Day 2, he batted longer – in terms of balls faced – than all but five players on their debut Test innings in England history.
According to ESPNcricinfo, “Root faced 229 balls – 151 fewer than the Nawab of Pataudi senior on his debut in the Ashes of 1932-33 – and became the sixth member of England’s top seven to register a half-century or better on Test debut, once again underlining the worth of the County Championship in producing international players.”
Root said, “I have been wanting and dreaming about this opportunity for a very long time. You just try and adapt to the conditions and the situation and make the most of what you have got. I tried to be as patient as possible and keep it as simple as possible.”
“It would be wrong to say there were no nerves when you are waiting to bat in Test cricket for the first time but I had a good team around me and when I once in the middle I was very relaxed and in a good place to play.”
Root has obvious similarities with Michael Vaughan as a young batsman, who was also included in the English unit as a youngster with a relatively modest first-class record.
Regarding the Vaughan issue, he said, “Michael has given me a bit of advice but mostly he lets me get on with it. My dad used to play in the same side as him.”
Root made a fighting 73 and the innings was more about the character he showed. He has a sound technique that would get better and better in times to come if given more opportunities. And most importantly, his authority against the turning ball can prove handy for England in the coming days. The young boy has shown promise and can be one of the pillars of English a batting line-up in the coming days.