Full name Joseph Edward Root
Born December 30, 1990, Sheffield, Yorkshire
Playing role Top-order batsman
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak, Legbreak
Joe Root, born on 30th December 1990, hails from a rich cricketing background. His grandfather captained Rotherham CC in the Yorkshire League for several seasons whilst his younger brother, Billy, is a regular with Glamorgan. In addition to being awarded a Daily Telegraph scholarship at the 2005 Bunbury festival, Root also attracted cricket scholarships at Workshop College, the school he attended, and Yorkshire Cricket academy. The gifted batsman celebrated his Yorkshire second Team debut in July 2007 with a fifty.
There was no looking back as Root’s meteoric rise continued unabated. A thoroughly emphatic Man of the Series performance for England Under-19 against Bangladesh Under-19 in 2010 witnessed the ‘boy wonder’ land a three-year professional contract with Yorkshire. Having marked his County Championship debut at the onset of 2011, Root established himself as a reliable batsman. The big breakthrough ensued in the following season when Root cracked an undefeated 222 in the County Championship encounter against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.
It was not long before Root’s consistency earned him a Test berth as he was picked for England’s historic Indian sojourn in 2012. Alastair Cook and his merry men surmounted tremendous odds to taste victory in the Test series. Among several stellar displays – Root’s debut, a baptism by fire stood out. When young Root strode out to bat in Nagpur, England were reeling at 139 for five with India’s spin quartet – Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla and Pragyan Ojha ruling the roost. Almost unmindful of the slow nature of the pitch that was described as one of the toughest by Kevin Pietersen, Root starred in a composed 289-minute 73, the sixth longest innings by an English batsman on debut, to steer England to a safe stalemate.
In the subsequent ODI series, Root compiled four successive scores of 30 plus, including his maiden half-century in the fourth ODI. Root’s right-arm off-breaks also presented a more than useful bowling option to Cook. The champagne moment of Yorkshire cricket arrived when Root along with another Yorkshire-bred batsman, Jonny Bairstow, pieced together a 124-run partnership versus New Zealand to prop up England at Headlingley. During the process, Root reached his maiden ton and England romped to a 247-run win.
Root was in for another stern examination, this time at the top of the order in the 2013 Ashes. He responded brilliantly with a monumental 180 in the second innings of the second Test at the home of cricket, Lord’s. Root’s insatiable hunger for runs helped him secure a central contract following England’s 3-0 drubbing of their arch-rivals. He was also at it in the Champions Trophy, hitting 173 runs, the most by an Englishman. Just before The Ashes series got underway in England, he was involved in an ugly altercation with David Warner which ended with the latter ‘throwing a punch’ on Root. With Michael Carberry also racking up big runs to seal the opening slot alongside Cook, Root returned to his customary No. 6 role for the return Ashes that same year. He was later promoted up the order when Jonathan Trott left the tour midway due to a stress-related illness. He failed in the entire series with only a couple of noteworthy performances to account for.
However, the selectors retained their faith in him and he was a part of England’s squad to West Indies. Root did not disappoint and put up a solid display in the ODI series finishing as the highest run-getter, including his maiden ton in the fourth ODI. For his stellar performance, Root was also adjudged as the Player of the Series. Sadly, he was forced to leave the tour midway due to a broken thumb and was ruled out of the World T20 tournament.
Root went from strength-to-strength in 2014, he started the summer with an unbeaten 200 against Sri Lanka at Lord’s and followed it up with two more hundreds against India. He was also a standout performer in the 50-over format and the only batsman to hold his own in the 5-2 drubbing against Sri Lanka. He was one of the first names to be penned down when the 15-member World Cup squad was picked.
Root’s stocks zoomed after a successful 2015 Ashes series against arch-rivals, Australia. Having started the series with a fluent 134 at Cardiff, an innings which helped his team gain the early advantage, he then made a superb 130 in Nottingham to help England regain the Ashes after having suffered a 5-0 hammering a year and a half ago. In all, Root made 460 runs during the series, at an impressive average of 57.50.
Root had well and truly arrived and he then went on to make a career-best 254 – against Pakistan in Lord’s. Root was now crowned as one of the best four young batsmen in the world – alongside the captains of Australia, New Zealand and India. Having played just one Test during his debut tour of India in 2012, the 2016 series was expected to be Root’s biggest Test of his career. He started with a hundred, but the age old problems of not converting fifties into hundreds came back to haunt him. He made four scores of fifty plus and ended the series with 491 runs at an average of 49.10 – clearly the best England batsman on the tour.
Having become an established player for England across formats, Root took over the Test captaincy from Alastair Cook in February 2017, with the latter stepping down after a four-year stint. Root’s first assignment was the home series against a probing South African outfit. He shone with the bat and also led decently as England comfortably clinched the series. West Indies were the next visitors and they were also brushed aside although they did stun the pundits by winning a Test match. Root seemed to be fairly in control tactically although it was arguable if he was as influential on the field as a captain needs to be. An away tour was the best way to analyse this part.
An Ashes campaign is a historic part of a cricketer’s campaign and to have that as your first overseas assignment makes it extremely tough for any captain. Like most visiting sides in Australia, England also got a severe beating in the series and Root’s captaincy was under the scanner, as was his continuing inability to convert fifties into hundreds. As a batsman, he was trying his best but it was evident that he seemed helpless as a leader. Obviously, the tour may have come as a sharp learning curve for Root who definitely has a lot to improve upon, as far as his captaincy is concerned.
While Root has been churning out runs across formats, there has been a talk about his relative vulnerability in limited-overs cricket. He does make the runs but at times, forcing the pace has seemed an issue for him. The fact that there is a plethora of strokemakers around him in the XI allows him to play his game without much worries but Root would also want to take his white-ball game to the next level. A part of this can be understood from his decision to participate in the 2018 IPL auctions.
At the World Cups – The youngest player in the 15-member squad of England in the 2015 World Cup, Root was one of the two English batters to score more than 200 runs in the competition. In his first-ever World Cup, Root recorded a century at a 110+ strike-rate, but he ended up on the losing side against Sri Lanka. You could call Root an exception in a team that is flooded with aggressive-and-powerful batsmen. This is despite him scoring 3498 runs from 74 innings at a strike-rate of 91 – England’s highest run-getter – since the 2015 World Cup. While Root may not be grabbing the headlines, he’s the glue around which the other batters play. This was exactly what he was required to do in the 2019 edition of the tournament. A ‘new England’ under Eoin Morgan had emerged and Root was to be a vital cog of it. Playing at home, England were firm favourites to lift their maiden World Cup trophy. That they eventually did win in a less than cavalier fashion will not take away the fact that they were clearly at the top of their game. So was Root, who ended the tournament as the fifth highest run-scorer, with 556 runs from 11 innings.
BATTING & FIELDING STATS