Root is an all-format player

The prime example of Root’s prowess came during England’s record run-chase of 230 against South Africa in a group stage game of the World Twenty20 at the Wankhede Stadium.

Joe Root... superb show against South Africa.   -  Reuters

He is not as burly as Gayle. He doesn’t bat audaciously like Afridi. He doesn’t carry the tag of ‘The Big Show’ like Maxwell. Still, thanks to his consistent, stylish and sometimes innovative batting, Joe Root has started transforming himself into a Twenty20 batsman as effective as any other showstopper, willow-wielder.

The prime example of Root’s prowess came during England’s record run-chase of 230 against South Africa in a group stage game of the World Twenty20 at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night. Had it not been for his 44-ball 83, England would have found it virtually impossible to convert the stupendous start into a winning chase to keep itself afloat in the tournament.

What was stunning about Root’s knock was the manner in which he not only anchored but also paced the England hunt to perfection. It took him 12 balls to get his first boundary but once he did that by despatching JP Duminy into the cow corner, Root started to manoeuvre. The next 45-odd minutes displayed how Root has transformed into an all-format player after starting as a Test specialist.

Despite playing the cross-batted strokes and reverse scoops at will, it is shots like Root’s upper cut off Morris and a lofted drive off Abbott that will stick in most cricket lovers’ memory for years to come. That stupendous knock established Root’s transformation from a long-form specialist into an all-format anchor for England.

Root isn’t a big-talker. “I think you’ve just got to take it game by game. I know it’s a boring response, but when I get to Delhi it’ll be completely different conditions and surface and we’ll have to adapt and all we can do now is make sure that we keep the momentum and keep looking to win games,” Root said, when asked about the manner in which he has managed to expand his game.

Along with the likes of Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, it is batsmen like Root who exemplify that raw power alone does not make one a great T20 batsman. In fact, if the foundation is strong, a long-form specialist finds it easier to adapt to shorter versions, a fact echoed by all the great batsmen.

If Root continues to bat the way he did on Friday evening, it won’t take too long for him to join the ranks of modern-day greats across all formats.