How Old-Fashioned Joe Root Shunned ‘Bazball’ To Save The Day For England

Feb23,2024






Joe Root did not bowl a sweep shot until he faced his 115th ball in Ranchi on Friday and only hit a reverse sweep as he brought up a slow century to save the day for England. Root's innings of 106 not out from 226 balls, made at a strike rate of 46.90, was, perhaps, the most anti-baseball innings played in the Brendon McCullum era. But then Root needed to rediscover the dog Yorkie within him – for himself and the team.

He entered the fourth Test against India on the strength of 29, 2, 5, 16, 18, 7 in his last Test innings and 18 in the first innings at Rajkot might have hurt him deeply.

Considering India's first innings score of 445 runs, England were in a strong position at 224 runs for two wickets. But Root decided to reverse lap Jasprit Bumrah to take a smart catch in the slips for Yashasvi Jaiswal.

His dismissal led to England's collapse as the tourists were bundled out for 319 and India converted that lead to a record win and a 2–1 series lead.

This gave rise to discussion about the reckless side of buzzball, and Root's average of over 50 during McCullum's reign was not enough to slow the wagging fingers on him.

The 33-year-old needed a solid innings for this and had to return to his original batting style. Cricket master-mind Ian Chappell also put forward a similar idea.

Chappell told World Wide Sports, “Root had a very good record playing normally and he was a fast scorer when playing normally. I don't understand why he is trying to change things so drastically And I never believed that you should play pre-planned shots.” ,

Root did exactly that, curbing his desire for fancy. However, it is not that the former England captain cannot perform exceptionally.

A quick look at the YouTube clip of Root reverse scooping Pat Cummins during the Ashes last year will confirm his skill level.

But he was at Edgbaston and the pitch there had a lot more potential than in the subcontinent, and it might have been a little easier for him to play those shots.

Therefore, Root will have to be cautious and judicious here. But it was not all difficult for Root as he had to avoid some uncomfortable moments during his innings.

On the very first ball he faced, debutant fast bowler Akash Deep took a run back to ping it on Root's pads, but DRS taken by Rohit Sharma made it clear that the ball was missing the leg-stump. Was.

Later, Mohammed Siraj also hit his pads with an in-swinger as Root was almost made to pay for his delayed front foot movement, but winged an inside edge. He was 82 years old then.

When Root was on 97, Akash Deep's reverse swing in-dipper came in and hit his pads, but umpire Rod Tucker deemed the ball going too high.

But, like any other great batsman, he showed the courage to move past those momentary inconveniences and produce an old-fashioned Test innings.

He hit only nine fours, including a fluent drive through cover at sky deep, to reach his 31st Test century, but the lack of big hits never bothered him.

Root was content to take singles and two runs to take his and his team's score upwards.

His approach was more optimistic than cosmetic, but high priest Ben Stokes and McCullum appreciated it when they gave the thumbs up sign from the dressing room to celebrate his century.

The more cynical among us will point to the absence of a rested Bumrah for Root's success.

But Test cricket is entirely a game of combinations of possibilities and no one knows this better than Root.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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