Joe Root’s great conversion
How the England captain has gone from a top quality batsman to an English legend
Joe Root is usually England’s saviour in test match cricket, and his 1,398 runs in 2021 so far have won and saved plenty of matches for this side.
A hindrance for the England captain was once his poor record of converting hard fought 50s into three figures scores.
Two years ago, Root had 16 Test centuries and 42 half-centuries for a conversion rate of 27.6 per cent. This issue of being unable to push on was visibly frustrating for the Yorkshireman.
In 2021, in a year where the runs are flowing, Root’s conversion rate is something very special. With five test matches left to play this year, his conversion rate stands at over 80 per cent.
His 23 centuries sits him third in the list of most tons for England at test match level, behind only Alistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen. His form in the last nine months has been almost unplayable at times, and has put to bed any concerns that he can’t play his best cricket as captain of the side. He is a joy to watch, and hopefully there are many more years to come from him.
Not only has he rediscovered how to consistently get to a century, he has moved onto 200 or more on five occasions, three of these in the last two years.
The third test against India, the latest instalment of a scintillating series, saw Root register yet another ton to bat the tourists out of the game.
Fortunately for him and England fans, the rest of the top order chipped in. For far too long, Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley failed all at once. 50 per cent of England’s top four has changed since the start of the series, and the early signs are excellent.
Burns looked more comfortable alongside Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan put in a classy display. These three all passed 50 at Headingley, and gave excellent support to their captain.
Having helped haul his side back into the series, Root will be keen to push on at the Oval later this week. He has been able to work hard on his own game to start turning 50s into 100s on a more regular basis and now he’s firmly deserving of his status as one of the best batsmen on the planet.
Whatever the result of this series, what is for certain is that Root has become England’s most successful test match captain ever, a change to the top order is playing off, and that we are living through the career of one of the best batsmen ever to represent England.