Joe Root is way ahead in the list of ‘Fab 4’, opines Saba Karim

Mumbai, June 8 (IANS) Days after former Australian captain Mark Taylor hailed Joe Root, saying the charismatic cricketer could surpass Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most runs in Test history, closer home, former India selector Saba Karim has said that the former England skipper stands head and shoulders above in the ‘Fab Four’ list of modern-day cricketers that also includes Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson.

Root, who handed over England’s Test captaincy reins to all-rounder Ben Stokes to concentrate on his batting, scored a fine unbeaten century to guide the home team to a five-wicket win against the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand at Lord’s to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

In guiding England to a morale-boosting win, Root surpassed the 10,000-run mark to become just the 14th cricketer to score 10,000 Test runs. Root has a total of 10,015 Test runs and is 5,906 behind Tendulkar, who notched up 15,921 in a career spanning 200 Tests.

“He has gone far ahead. If we see England’s batting, only Joe Root’s name is coming up again and again. It means Joe Root has not got support from the other end. If we talk about India, with Virat Kohli there is always support like KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant among other. That is the situation in New Zealand and Australia too. Even in overseas conditions like in India or in Sri Lanka, Root has single-handedly won England matches,” Karim was quoted as saying by India News Sports.

“Joe Root has left the other three batters far behind in the last two years. Whether we talk about consistency, technique or temperament, in all these aspects Joe Root is above everyone at the moment.”

Root also became only the second cricketer from his country to have reached 10,000 Test runs after Alastair Cook, who quit international cricket in 2018, having scored 12,472 runs.

Karim said the fact that Root’s century came in the fourth innings when the pitch is deteriorating and the chasing team is under tremendous pressure added to the cricketer’s achievement.

“It’s never easy to score a ton in the fourth innings. That too against such a team which has got strong bowling attack. Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Colin de Grandhomme… New Zealand have so many good bowlers. If somebody is batting well in the fourth innings, it shows that the guy is strong both technically and mentally,” he added.

Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson too had heaped praise on Root, saying in his ICC Review that, “He’s (Root) as good as anyone to be able to get as close as he can. For sure, he’s got a lot of great cricket in front of him, so I think he is going to get very close. Just by seeing where Joe Root is right now, he is the youngest one with Kane Williamson, who is 31 as well. Those two have still got a fair way to go. I think Joe Root is going to finish on top (among Fab 4). For the other guys, it depends on how much cricket they continue to play. They’ve still got a lot of cricket left in them.”