Legendary English batsman Geoffrey Boycott believes that Joe Root has the chance to not only eclipse the record of Sir Alastair Cook, but potentially play 200 Tests and outscore Sachin Tendulkar. Root, in Galle, surpassed Boycott’s run tally in Tests to become the country’s 4th highest run-getter.
After enduring the worst year of his career in 2020, England skipper Joe Root soared back to form in style in Sri Lanka, striking a double-ton and 186 to remind the world of his talent. In the process of scoring those daddy hundreds, the England skipper, at just the age of 30, crossed the 8000-run barrier and became the country’s fourth-highest run-getter in Tests, surpassing the trio of Geoffrey Boycott, Kevin Pietersen and David Gower.
With Root only some 4000 runs short of the top-placed Alastair Cook, many believe that the right-hander taking the top spot is a matter of ‘when’ more than ‘if’, but according to Boycott, the England skipper could reach greater heights. In his column in Telegraph, Boycott reckoned that Root, who is one short of 100 Tests, could very well go on to play 200 Test matches and break the run-tally of Sachin Tendulkar, who with 15,921 runs is the highest run-getter in Test history.
"Forget just scoring more Test runs for England than David Gower, Kevin Pietersen and myself. Joe Root has the potential to play 200 Tests and score more runs than even Sachin Tendulkar," Boycott wrote in a column for 'The Telegraph'.
"Root is only 30. He has played 99 Tests and scored 8249 runs already. As long as he does not suffer serious injury there is no reason why he cannot beat Tendulkar's all-time record of 15,921."
"His contemporaries, such as Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson, are wonderful players as well who could also score that many runs. We should enjoy Root and only judge him alongside those guys, not great names of the past because every player is a product of their environment.”
After being guilty of not converting starts, Root, in the Sri Lanka series, scored back-to-back hundreds, just about showcasing not just the talent, but also the temperament he possesses. The two tons were of paramount importance for the England skipper, who, prior to 2021, had gone an entire year without scoring a Test ton. Boycott reckoned T20 cricket infiltrated Root’s technique, but claimed the lockdown gave the opportunity for the England skipper to work on his flaws.
"Until this tour Joe had not been making the big scores that influence matches. Perhaps the COVID-19 lockdowns allowed him time to take stock of his batting. For too long he appeared to be influenced by Twenty20 cricket. He was trying to force his way back into England's T20 side, but that frenetic type of batting is not for him," Boycott said.
"I felt that when playing Test cricket his subconscious was telling him to try to score off almost every ball. He was opening the face of the bat to good length balls trying to run it to third man, working straight balls to leg and even when he defended a really good ball he would set off for a run. In other words, he was trying to avoid a dot ball. Against top-class Test bowlers that is not possible.
"Joe's biggest test will be against pace in Australia but, right now, by not batting in a gung-ho style, he has settled down and is giving himself a chance to bat big."
Root will play his 100th Test against India in Chennai on February 5.