As Joe Root bats out a solid 71 on a difficult Lords track Amit Acharya looks at his potential to become an all-time great.
Throughout the history of cricket there have always been players who have been identified from a young age as being future stars. These players do not always go on to fulfil their potential, one such example of this is Mark Ramprakash. At U19 level Ramprakash had been rated as the best player of his age group. He was rated higher than Brian Lara at the time. The talent was there for everyone to see, it seems that Lara may have been mentally tougher as well as being lucky not to be playing under the poorly run English selection committee of the 1990’s.
The current England player who had been identified as a future test player from a young age is Joe Root. He had been the outstanding player throughout his school career as well as junior county levels. Expectations had been high of the boy from Yorkshire, especially after it was said that he possessed the patience and determination of Geoff Boycott mixed with the technique of Michael Vaughn. This comparison with two of the great England captains must weigh heavy on any players mind, let alone a young player.
Joe Root should not go down the same path as others such as the aforementioned Ramprakash or Graham Hick for a few reasons.
I believe that the England selection committee now give players a longer period in the squad to prove themselves, as well as his mental strength that he has shown in his early international career. There is also the fact he continuously backs up his international form with solid county games; he is on course to score an incredible 1000 runs before the end of May.
This week Michael Vaughn has tipped Root to become England’s seventh captain from Yorkshire. It would not surprise me at all if he were to be handed the captaincy after Alistair Cook retires ones day. He has captaincy credentials having regularly captained the England Lions over the last few years. Not only is he likely to be the captain in the future, he will surely move up the order to open for England as well as utilising his useful spin bowling.
An opening partnership of Alistair Cook and Joe Root is a mouth-watering prospect for any England fan. It would not surprise me if England decided to employ him as an opener sooner rather than later. There is a possibility that he could be promoted up the order as soon as the next Ashes.
Joe Root is increasingly becoming a big part of the England set up. When he was first considered for England he was seen solely as a test match player, but a good showing in India last January proved he could be a pinch hitter in the shorter forms of the game; this showing he is an all-round reliable player to have in all England squads.
There now is a group of talented youngsters who are coming through all at the same time for England. These include Root, Jos Butler, Johnny Bairstow and Steven Finn. The summer is big for Root as he aims to continue his rise in international cricket, the future for England is even brighter. I believe that if he plays to his full potential he could become an England great.
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