Joe Root is the leader of England’s batting and given his credentials as a brilliant player of spin bowling, the former English skipper was supposed to carry the load of scoring runs in the five-match Test series in India. However, Root has looked far from his best in the ongoing Test series in India with only 52 runs to his name in the last four innings.
Even in the second innings of the Visakhapatnam Test, Root had a role to play when England began their pursuit of a record 399-run chase. However, Root played a poor shot off R Ashwin as the ball stayed in the air for a long time before landing in the hands of a surprised fielder at a backward point.
IND vs ENG, 2nd Test Scorecard |
This marked the end of another short and nervous innings for Root during a series full of short and nervous innings. He only scored 16 runs from 10 balls, including four from a poorly executed reverse sweep and six from an unconvincing shot down the ground. He even had a close call with an LBW decision.
England didn’t expect Root, their top batsman, to struggle with his technique and mindset during this tour. Despite his struggles, he still holds records for scoring the most runs against India and being one of the few foreign batsmen to score over 1,000 runs in India. In the last 10 Tests against India, he has scored six centuries. To compare, during his last Test tour in 2021, he scored 297 runs in four innings.
Well, Root’s exploits with the bat in the subcontinent (India and Sri Lanka) came way before the Bazball era began. It’s not that Root has not scored runs under the leadership of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, but his adventure with aggressive batting has failed to yield the desired results in Indian conditions. Mind you, Root is England’s leading run-getter in the Bazball era, with 1579 runs, including 5 hundreds, at an average of 52. However, his inability to get going in India has raised concerns.
Root’s recent struggles can’t be blamed solely on this inning. In his last two innings, he was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah, who has a knack for getting him out. If we look at his last four dismissals, Root has been getting out while trying to up the ante with his attacking shots. Root’s batting form has been affected not just by his injuries but also by his mental state. He had a rough time in the World Cup as well. When he’s not scoring runs, he tends to isolate himself off the field and take more risks on it.
Root is known as a batsman who doesn’t rely on big hits to score runs. Maybe Root needs to go back to his past self to rediscover form. Maybe Root should look to score runs with finesse, timing, and placement. Root, known for his technical prowess and ability to anchor the innings, has traditionally excelled in the Test format and there is no reason that he cannot repeat his past heroics in India in the upcoming three Tests.