Joe Root is now sitting at the top of the ICC’s batting rankings for test cricket, with the England captain establishing himself as the best batsman in the world in this format with stellar displays in 2021.
The right-hander has set himself apart from the likes of Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith after notching six centuries in test cricket already in 2021.
Root has turned in some particularly eye-catching displays during the current five-match series against India, whilst counterpart Kohli has failed to come close to his contributions at the crease.
The 30-year-old has produced three centuries in as many matches against India so far, meaning that expectations will be high for Root when he marches out to the stumps in the fourth test and it’s bound to be interesting to see this reflected in the latest cricket odds.
Root recorded 109 runs in his second innings in the first test against India, sat at 180 not out in the first innings of the second meeting and came up with 121 runs from just 165 balls last time out.
It’s particularly impressive to see how Root is dominating in the current series given his struggles when England played four tests in India in the first quarter of 2021.
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) September 1, 2021
After displays like that, even Kohli’s former teammate Dinesh Karthik has admitted that Root is the ‘best batsman in the world’ right now:
“Throughout this series, good white-ball batters – Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Jonny Bairstow – have been batting with a strike rate of 50, max 55. Root has batted at 70, 75.”
“He is at the peak of his batting prowess and there is no technical vulnerability per se.”
“There may be certain phases where he could have played better but there are no areas where you can say ‘bowl there at him’.”
“He may get a great ball and a couple of low scores but in terms of saying, ‘he is technically weak in that area’, I don’t think there is much with Root.”
“He is the best batsman in the world in terms of the way he is batting right now – he doesn’t even leave many balls.”
“England is probably the toughest place to bat and a lot of players focus on leaving the ball but he is playing at most of the balls others are leaving.”
“It shows he is confident, knows his scoring areas and sticks to it. He is all all-round player – he plays spin well as we saw in the winter in Sri Lanka and India. And the pace at which he plays? Phenomenal.”
Karthik has hit the nail on the head with his assessment of Root, the Englishman is showcasing some perfectly-balanced batting right now.
If his sheer volume of runs wasn’t enough to cement him as the world’s top batsman right now, his strike rate in the most gruelling format of the game makes his case for the No.1 spot unquestionable.
Root’s exceptional 2021 campaign to date has also got the 30-year-old in contention to break some remarkable all-time records, as BBC Sport have detailed.
Sheffield’s prodigal son is already tied for most test centuries in a year by an England batsman, sitting alongside Michael Vaughan and Denis Compton with his tally of six.
With two matches of the India series left to play and three of the Ashes tests against Australia to come, Root has plenty of opportunities to set a new record (perhaps by some margin) by the end of 2021.
Amid a wonderful career as it is, Joe Root has the chance to put his name next to some of the biggest feats in cricket this year.
Root has rallied back superbly from the relative inconsistencies and difficulties he faced at the test level for England in 2019 and 2020, notably being unable to help the Poms win back the Ashes in the last battle and slumping to some poor displays in the test ties against Pakistan last year.
The ever-measured batsman has scored 1398 runs so far this year, which leaves him just 83 off the record tally for an Englishman in a year, set by Michael Vaughan in 2002.
Root has also left himself with the chance to break some all-time worldwide records with his performances in 2021, per BBC Sport.
Six test centuries from England’s poised leader leaves him three away from the impressive feat that Mohammad Yousuf set for Pakistan in 2006.
Yousuf also holds another illustrious record that Root could take if he keeps up this form, the Pakistani great scored 1788 runs in 2002. With five tests left for England this year, it really seems like Root has a wonderful chance of hitting the 390 runs to equal that feat and then hopefully break it.
Root is striking the ball incredibly well right now, he thoroughly deserves to take the top spot for test batting for the first time since he held it in 2015.
It’s wonderful to see how England’s captain has recovered from some of the low points of recent years, it’s only right that the praise he receives now is as loud as the harsh criticism he’s faced in the past.
With the fourth of five test matches between England and India just getting started today, as well as some upcoming men’s and women’s T20 internationals and the semi-finals of the domestic Vitality Blast T20 tournament later this month, check out the latest Cricket Odds here.