Alastair Cook calls Joe Root ‘the most complete England batsman I have seen’
London : Joe Root’s match-winning unbeaten 115 in the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s also propelled him to cross the 10,000-run mark in the longest format of the game. On reaching his 26th Test hundred, Root became the 14th cricketer and just the second Englishman after Alastair Cook to become a member of the 10,000 Test-runs club. Now, Cook, the former England opener, has called Root the most complete England batsman he has ever seen.
Root is now 2,457 runs behind Cook’s 12,472 runs from 161 Test matches. “He is a pleasure to watch, the most complete England batsman I have seen. The person who could play the most incredible innings was Kevin Pietersen, but for the most complete batsmen in all three forms, it’s Root. His consistency is incredible,” said Cook to BBC Sport. Cook was captaining England when Root, then 21, made his Test debut against India at Nagpur in 2012.
Recalling how Root’s temperament stood out for him, Cook remarked, “He was a very good player of spin, as good as anyone. That was obvious to see, even at that young age. He was ready to play international cricket. You knew he could handle the occasion.” With Root, 31, not being a regular figure in England’s T20I side, Cook feels that he can overtake him for becoming England’s leading run-scorer in Test cricket if injuries stay away from the right-handed batter.
“Barring injury, he’ll go miles past my record. He is so hard to tie down. I had to grind my way to 30, it always took me what felt like two hours. Because Joe has got so many low-risk scoring options, pretty much through 360 degrees, he will often get to 30 off 40 balls.”
Cook, who retired from international cricket in 2018 at the age of 33, thinks the mental pressure of scoring runs all the time will extend Root’s Test career. “I would never have said I would finish at 33, but the time felt right for me. The mental strain I felt to score runs took a toll on me. I’m not saying it’s easy for him, but he doesn’t seem to have that problem.”