Joe Root: A Cut Above the Rest

Root has scored 1,178 runs more than the next best batter in his team – Rory Burns, who has 530 runs from 10 Tests.

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar

The year 2021 has been the best for England Test skipper Joe Root in his nearly 10-year-long career: The stylish right-hand batter has amassed 1,708 runs in 15 Tests (29 innings) at an average of 61.00.

This is also the third-highest in terms of the most runs scored by a batter in a calendar year, behind Mohammad Yousuf's 1,788 runs in 2006 and Sir Vivian Richards' 1,710 runs in 1976.

So dominant has been his form that the next batter with the most runs in 2021 is 802 runs behind him – India's new ODI and T20 skipper Rohit Sharma with 906 runs from 11 Tests.

Root has also scored 1,178 runs more than the next best batter in his team – Rory Burns, who managed 530 runs from 10 Tests.

And therein lies the problem, which is one of the key reasons for England's dismal show in the Ashes and in 2021. They have lost nine Test matches, in what is their worst performance in a calendar year since 1877.

A humiliating defeat on Tuesday, 28 December, where England lost the match by an innings and 14 runs, saw them lose the series 3-0 as well.

Meanwhile, cricket lovers back home in India, after managing to find their television remote on a dark and cold (early) Tuesday morning, were left switching between television channels and OTT platforms, hoping to catch a glimpse of the action, wondering why the match wasn't being telecast. Then, the realisation hit! A quick look at the scorecard and their suspicion was confirmed. It was all over before lunchtime in Australia and the first sip of the steaming hot tea here in India.

What's fascinating and unfortunate for England is that never before in the history of Test cricket has there existed such a wide gap between the two top run-scorers, whether for the same team or overall among other teams.

Root has scored 1,178 runs more than the next best batter in his team – Rory Burns, who has 530 runs from 10 Tests.

The Last Man Standing: Joe Root.

(Photo Courtesy: BCCI)

This shows how badly England have been reliant on one person – Joe Root, something that would make the Indian fans nostalgic (Remember Sachin and India in the 1990s?).

While Root scored 1,708 runs in 15 Tests innings at an average of 61 and six tons, the other England batters collectively managed 4,396 runs at an average of 18.17 with one hundred, having been dismissed 242 times during the same period.

Root has scored 1,178 runs more than the next best batter in his team – Rory Burns, who has 530 runs from 10 Tests.

Toying with the Indian bowlers: Joe Root

(Photo: PTI)

Even during the Test series against India earlier this year, Root was the lone soldier for England and toyed with the Indian bowlers. While the rest of the England wickets fell like ninepins around him, Root was at his resilient best.

In the four Test matches (and seven innings) against the visitors, he scored 564 runs at an average of 94, with three tons and a best of 180 not out. The next best England batter was Jonny Bairstow, who scored 184 runs at an average of 26.28 in the same number of matches and innings.

Overall, Root scored 27.98 percent of England's bat runs in 2021; such has been his dominance. Only one other English batter (Dawid Malan) averaged over 30. And what's more astonishing is that Extras (412) was the third-highest run-scorer for England in 2021!

England's top three, which included an experiment with seven different players, had a dismal year and managed to score 1,792 runs from 87 innings at an average of 21.33, the lowest by any of the teams' top-order in 2021.

In all this, however, one of the most exciting rivalries of the cricket world, The Ashes, has been reduced to a one-sided affair. The rest of the English batters would have to pull up their socks for any chance of a comeback. Otherwise, a 5-0 result in favour of Australia seems inevitable.

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Topics:  Joe Root   Test Cricket   The Ashes 

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