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I can't stand still as a player: Joe Root

Root donned the personality of a philosopher to explain his new-found attitude.
Last Updated 24 February 2024, 16:17 IST

Ranchi: How Joe Root has been getting out of late had been a concern, not just for the purveyors of English cricket but also for purists of the sport.

The reverse ramps, the sweeps, awkward angles and even stranger dismissals have cropped a fair bit of flak, but Root donned the personality of a philosopher to explain his new-found attitude. 

“Certainly the execution has weighed on me, not necessarily the selection of the shots themselves,” he said after remaining unbeaten on 122 at the end of England’s innings on Saturday. “See, if you get out, you’re out, doesn’t matter what it looks like. You have to continually look at how you’re getting the best out of yourself for the team. We’re not trying to be aggressive as a team all the time, that’s not what we’re about. We’re trying to do whatever we can to win.”

That would explain why Root chose to cut the sweep and everything else out of the textbook and stuck to the basics in playing out 274 deliveries. 

“Those shots, honestly, are not about being arrogant. ‘Bazball’ is a word that is used a lot but that’s your word. It’s not how we look at it,” said the former skipper. “Also, I can’t just stand still as a player. I have to evolve. If you play the same way over and over again, teams work you out. You won’t always get it right, but if you’re not willing to make mistakes and learn from them, you can progress.”

When asked about how hard it was to ignore the sweep and the reverse sweep, which he and his team-mates have taken a liking to, he said: “That fleeting, and selfish, thought that left my head very quickly (laughs). You don’t mess with the game. You find the best way to score runs. The pitch wouldn’t allow for sweeps because of variable bounce so I didn’t play them. Simple.” 

In contrast to Root’s turn-friendly assessment of the pitch, India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said he wouldn’t go so far as calling this a turning wicket. 

“This pitch has played as expected by us but it took us by surprise at how slow it has become already on day two,” he said. “But this is not a turner, very few deliveries shot out unexpectedly. There is variable bounce with it playing on the lower side, but this is not a turner.”

Mhmabrey also insisted that their spinners wouldn’t look to follow the English spinners’ ploy to bowl faster on the wicket. “We will stick to our strengths and that will get us wickets. There is a lot of the Test match left and I think our spinners know how to play their roles in their backyard,” he quipped. 

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(Published 24 February 2024, 16:17 IST)

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