And eight years and two months since his debut in Nagpur in conditions seriously alien to him, the 30-year-old will play his 100th Test at Chepauk on Friday.
His century count (19) or average (49.39) may look a little modest compared to his three great rivals — Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson — but his 49 halfcenturies in the process show how consistent a player Root has been. Add to that his average of 54.13 (second only to David Gower among English batsmen) in the subcontinent, and you have a player of immense class and quality who has held together England’s batting in the last decade.
The captain walks out for the toss in his 100th Test match for England! 🏴Live Scorecard:… https://t.co/RD8tKOy7Oh
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) 1612497247000
Geoffrey Boycott once said that the way Root is going, he should be in a position to break Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of highest Test runs — 15921 in 200 games — in the near future.
When asked about it, Boycott’s fellow Yorksireman smiled: “It may sound a cliche but I really don’t think that far. I was fortunate to have played against probably the best batsman of all time and 100 Tests has been a long journey for me. Another 100 really looks a long way off.”
When cricket historians will sit down to evaluate Root’s legacy, the first thing that will probably come up is how well he has dealt with spinners. The sweep shot has played a huge part in his success and the right-hander feels it was a shot that came naturally to him.
An incredible achievement! Congratulations on 💯 caps, @root66 👏Live Scorecard: https://t.co/dvSneIBYg7#INDvENG https://t.co/33HRG29szx
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) 1612495137000
“I took a lot of time growing up physically and to generate power to get the ball off the park against spinners, the sweep shot was pretty much my only weapon,” he said.
👶 From boy to man 👱👏 From prodigy to genius 🙌🏏 #R100T #INDvENG 🏴 https://t.co/gop5nzkEJ6
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) 1612440005000
Root has come a long way since then, but the same shot still pays him huge dividends, as was the case in Sri Lanka where he scored two back-to-back Test centuries. But the England captain knows he can’t be a one-trick pony when it comes to dealing with the guile and quality of the R Ashwin-led Indian spin attack in his ‘century’ match.
The 💯 Club welcomes @root66 👏#R100T https://t.co/vXoKVzbKxK
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) 1612458026000
“That’s the beauty of cricket, there will always be new challenges…There may be situations when I won’t be able to sweep that much in India, but I will be prepared,” Root said, proclaiming how big a fan of cricket he still is after being a thoroughbred professional for so long.
“When I look back, it still gives me goosebumps to remember batting with Kevin Pietersen on my debut… Even now, I watch a lot of cricket in my free time,” said Root, coming across as the young boy in spirit who enthralled us with his touch play and determination eight years ago.