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Joe Root's Midas touch

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Joe_Root_England_cricketAfter India thrashed the Aussies in the 2nd Test, the focus shifted from the sub-continent to the Caribbean where the bad run of the West Indies got worse. The Eoin Morgan-led side hammered the hosts, winning the 3rd ODI by a huge margin of 186 runs and clinched the series 3-0. England's series win brought back up a lot of things, none of them new, about the decline of West Indies cricket.

Some sweet records came along with this win for the tourists: It is the first time England have whitewashed West Indies in an ODI series in the Caribbean and it is also the heaviest defeat, in terms of runs, the West Indies have ever suffered at home.

One of the top 5 batsmen in the world, Joe Root is in that club of modern era players who mature quite quickly. Root, who recently succeeded Alastair Cook as Test captain, is going through a phase where he’s got the ‘Midas touch’- everything he touches turns to gold for him and the England team.

In the third and final ODI of the recently concluded series, Joe Root & Alex Hales anchored the innings which helped England to register a match-winning total of 328 against the hosts. Root & Hales went on to score 101 and 110 respectively, laying the foundations for the victory. The 192-run stand from 30-odd overs proved too much for the Windies.

Root has been in form of his life for a long time now. He performed well against India, where he scored a hundred in the first Test itself and then showed his worth in the ODIs and T20Is as well. After the India tour, Root went to the Caribbean to give really tough time to the bowlers. Leaving behind the 1st ODI where he got out on 4, Root bounced back by scoring 90 not out in what might have been a tricky chase and a 100 in the next two games against West Indies.

Root has clearly been in good touch. In his last 5 ODI innings, he has registered scores of 101, 90*, 4, 54 & 78 and averages more than 80. He will play a vital role in the Champions Trophy, which will be played in England. Just how dangerous he gets will be interesting to see!

 

“Conditions often play an important role”. This statement doesn’t seem to trouble the Englishman as of now. Cricket experts often say good players can only become ‘greats’ if they move out of their comfort zone i.e. perform outside home conditions. Root hasn’t disappointed the experts or critics and has performed well first in India and now in the Caribbean.

Being away from the game and squad since the India tour, Alex Hales made a great comeback after recovering from a hand injury, scoring the fifth century of his ODI career. Hales & Root pair got their hands on some records as Root who made his ninth century is now only behind Marcus Trescothick (with 12) who has scored more ODI centuries for England than him, while Hales in his 41st match after getting his fifth century broke David Gower's England record as the fastest man to record five ODI centuries (Gower did it in 45 matches).

It is very rare to see someone overshadow Root’s innings, but Hales – who went on to hit 9 fours and 5 sixes in his 110 – made this possible with a combination of power hitting and good shot selection & technique. Hales, on his comeback, was also awarded the Man of the Match.

England captain Eoin Morgan said, “We came here to win three games, and we've won three games, I think probably the strongest thing we've gained from this trip is adapting to conditions.”  He added, “It was probably our best batting performance of the series - simply because I thought conditions were a lot more difficult than we've come up against.” 

 

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Yatin Singh is a graduate of Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, studied B.A (H) Journalism. Yatin,...

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