Skip to main content

Latest News

Joe Root’s form declining under Bazball? Numbers have a different story to tell

Joe Root's form declining under Bazball? Numbers have a different story to tell

Joe Root. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Joe Root is one of the best batters in the world. Right from 2013 when he made his Test debut, the star batter has played many great knocks for England. In the longest format of the game, Root does things that are not possible for many batters in the world. Root’s ability to score runs against the top teams in the world makes him a world-class batter. However, an argument has surfaced regarding his playing style in recent times.

One has to know about England’s history in the recent past to know the context behind it. Root as a player has played under three captains. From 2013 to 2016, the right-handed batter played under the captaincy of Alastair Cook. Root was pretty young back then and had a slight problem converting fifties to marathon knocks. In 2017, Root assumed the captaincy of England. The star batter thrived as a batter under his own leadership.

2021 was a mixed bag for the Yorkshireman. As a batter, he scaled new heights and piled up a whopping 1708 runs, the third most for a batter in a calendar year. But as a skipper, he had a forgettable year. While the year started on a good note with a series win in Sri Lanka, England lost 1-3 in India and lost at home against New Zealand for the first time in over 20 years. Despite the struggles of the team, his batting was never a problem.

The 33-year-old witnessed his side lose 1-2 in the first four Tests of the series against India at home before the fifth Test was postponed. England lost the Ashes 0-4 and lost to the West Indies 0-1 by March 2022. Root had to make tough decisions. The middle-order batter stepped down as the captain and made way for the era of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

Effect of Bazball on England and Root

Under the new leadership, a lot of things changed in England.

Their batters were given full freedom to express themselves. They were asked to bat with intent without worrying about the results. If they failed, the message was to keep trying to score runs with aggression but with better shot selection. The aggression was not just with batting, there were instances where there were aggressive declarations, innovative field placements, and going for the kill in terms of chasing down the totals.

England chased totals of more than 250 at least four times since June 2022. Under McCullum and Stokes, England did not lose a series against Australia and New Zealand. They clean-swept Pakistan in their own backyard. But the last few months have been challenging for England. The poor performance in the ODI World Cup 2023 followed by a not-so-good show in India has raised a lot of questions on the team and the players.

Also read: ‘Desperate’ Joe Root comes good for England in deteriorating Ranchi

Joe Root has been at the centre of it all. Much like other batters, Root struggled to score in the ODI World Cup 2023. For the last few months, the 2019 World Cup winner has not been able to be at his best with the bat. An orthodox batter by nature, Root has played most of his life in a traditional way – To see off the difficult phase and then go after the bowlers. However, under Stokes and McCullum, his style of batting has changed a bit.

Where people used to see Root guiding the ball towards the third man to fetch runs, they got accustomed to him reverse scooping some of the best pacers in the world like Pat Cummins and Neil Wagner. While it looked great when executed to perfection, there was severe criticism when it looked awful. One such instance was during the third Test between India and England in 2024 in Rajkot.

The English batter tried to reverse scoop Jasprit Bumrah over the slip cordon. However, he could not time the ball and ended up giving a simple catch. Some even went as far as to term it as the ‘Stupidest shot by an English batter in Tests’. There has been a popular opinion that the stylish batter’s game has gone down since he changed his game under the captaincy of Stokes. However, the stats have something else to say.

Check out the following table which consists of the batting numbers of Joe Root under different captains –

Under Alastair Cook Under Joe Root Under Ben Stokes
Innings 98 118 39
Runs 4594 5295 1737
Batting Average 52.80 46.44 52.63
Batting SR 55.00 54.35 69.92
100s/50s 11/27 14/26 6/7

From the table, it is pretty evident that Root has better numbers under the captaincy of Stokes than when he played under Cook or himself. Of course, the sample size of Root under the captaincy of Stokes is less, compared to that under Cook and himself. Having said that, his numbers since June 2022 have been staggering. While he used to strike at around 54 to 55 before, he now strikes at nearly 70 under the new captaincy.

Root under different captains

His conversion rate is pretty amazing as well. There is an interesting point to note. Despite playing under his captaincy, Root used to be aggressive whenever needed. The best example of it was in 2021, when he smashed 121(165) which came at a SR of 73.33. In the latest Test at Ranchi, Root scored an unbeaten 122*(274) which came at a strike rate of 44.53.

Master of playing to the conditions

The stats show that irrespective of how the style of a team’s batting is, Root can change to different styles of batting, whenever needed. Under difficult situations, Root can nudge the ball to singles and rotate the strike to survive the day. At the same time, when batters at the other end are going well, he can also join them and enjoy the moment in the middle by playing some outrageous shots.

Either way, he has only succeeded as a batter. There are rough patches in every batter’s career. Root has gone through a couple of such phases. He might be going through one such phase in the ongoing series against India. But that should not stop him from playing the shots. Under McCullum, Root is surely a changed batter. He has added new shots in his armoury and can deploy them whenever necessary.

Also read: ‘I’m a little disappointed’ – Sunil Gavaskar’s cheeky ‘reverse-scoop’ dig at Joe Root after his 31st Test century

When such shots are successfully pulled off, they are praised but their failure is equally slammed, which is fine. However, there need not be any change in the approach in the way he goes about things. Because, under Stokes, he still looks as good as ever, and probably with a better range of shots. In different situations, he might need such shots. And in many cases, his defence might play a key role.

To conclude, Root has the game for all types of situations and conditions. On difficult wickets to bat on, he can be aggressive and put pressure back on the bowlers by playing some audacious shots. On relatively good tracks, he can manoeuvre, farm strike and play in gaps to keep the scoreboard ticking. Both ways of play will only help him to contribute to the side. His way of batting depends on the game situation and the nature of the wicket.

More in Latest News

April 14: IPL 2024 Morning News – Top updates on players, teams, stats, points table and more

MS Dhoni. (Source -BCCI) 1. ‘We know the importance of him’ – Stephen...

IPL 2024: Shikhar Dhawan sidelined with shoulder injury, expected to miss action for a week

Dhawan wicket ( Photo source : X / Twitter ) Punjab Kings’...

IPL 2024: Tanush Kotian sets bizarre record for Rajasthan Royals as an opener, stirs social media ablaze

Tanush Kottiyan. (Source -IPL/BCCI) Each season of the Indian Premier League...

‘We know the importance of him’ – Stephen Fleming reflects on Matheesha Pathirana possibly missing out against MI

Stephen Fleming. (Source -Twitter/X) The IPL (Indian Premier League) 2024 gears...