England’s thrilling series win over India in the one day internationals rounded off a quite brilliant week for England’s test captain Joe Root who took the brilliant Indian spinners, who had dominated the 20 over and early 50 over exchange by making superb scores of 113 not out and 100 not in the 2nd and 3rd match’s to see England home, claim man of the series, move up to No2 in the rankings behind one of the greatest one day batsman of all time in Virat Kohli and move his one day average up to a brilliant 51 from well over 100 international match’s.
It therefore seems quite incredible that he was left out of the England side for the deciding 20/20 series decider against India the week before. A decision that most pundits predicted and to a big degree supported. Root has an excellent average of over 35 per innings in the most volatile of formats. Not many sides in world cricket could realistically leave out a player with such a fantastic record, let alone England who for years and years were playing catch up to the new more aggressive and attacking style of one day cricket that the last few decades has brought to the international game.
Root’s omission from the 20 over side is a result of England’s ultra-aggressive batting line up, with an array of destructive batsman who can clear the ropes from ball one at any time during an innings. Root shares a seat at the top table of batsman in the world with Kohli, Smith and Kane Williamson. It’s the comparison with Williamson that is the most interesting with regards to their 20 over careers.
Root and Williamson have had strikingly similar trajectories to their careers, with both earmarked as future great batsman for their countries at young ages as well as predicted to lead their test sides as captains. Both of which have come to fruition. It’s also the style of batting where the similarities continue with them both employing excellent technique and favouring the more orthodox style of play as opposed to bigger reliance on power in the limited overs format.
With similarities in style, record and reputation. It is interesting that Joe Root has never been selected to play for an IPL team, whereas Williamson has captained and starred in the successful Sunrisers side and is a leading light in a highly successful New Zealand international side where Root has just lost his place in the England side.
A closer look at the sides Williamson has starred for at the highest-level show two teams highly reliant on fantastic bowling units with the Sunrisers possessing a quite brilliant bowling line up in Bhuvi Kumar, Sid Kaul, Shakib Al-Hasan and the best 20/20 bowler in the world in Rashid Khan. The Sunrisers employed a tactic the total opposite of England’s power house batting with Williamson used at the top of the order and to guide his side to a reasonable total and bat most of the innings and accumulating runs at a reasonable if not brutal rate, which Root is so adept at for England in the 50 over format.
In New Zealand colours they have a couple of dynamite batsman in Guptill and Munro at the top of the order with Williamson at 3 playing the long accumulating role for the Kiwis with not having the strength and power in the middle and lower middle order to play so expansively throughout the entire innings – a role Root would be quite brilliant at, but is not needed or applicable within the current England line up.
Both are players of the highest order, but as is so often the way in top level sport – your career success or otherwise, can be hugely directed by being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. Root will surely be a part of England’s 20 over future – but he could well have had an easier ride and dynamic within England’s current line up at present.
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