|Sachin Tendulkar is bowled by James Anderson, on Friday
Nagpur: When established names like Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell are struggling to find their feet on the subcontinent wickets, young Joe Root, who made his Test debut in the ongoing Nagpur Test, has exhibited mature batsmanship.
Coming in to bat at 119 for four, Root contributed a precious and patient 73 in England’s first innings, also stitching two crucial partnerships with Matt Prior and Graeme Swann in the process.
The 21-year-old attributes his knock to hard work and precise footwork, apart from the ability to adapt to all conditions.
“More than anything, you need to keep your footwork precise and work very hard… Just keep on grinding it out. You have to be patient in everything you do when there’s such a defensive field. It’s also about trying to adapt to conditions and situation and trying to keep things simple as possible... Try to make the most of what you have got,” Root said during a media conference, at the end of the day’s play.
His teammates’ support, too, helped him to get over the nervousness, Root pointed out. “It won’t be wrong to say that one would be nervous going into bat in Test cricket for the first time… But I have a great team around me, very good and very helpful. So I felt very relaxed when I went out to bat,” Root said.
Root admitted that he was taken by surprise when informed about his selection in the final XI, ahead of Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow. “It was a little bit of a surprise... Nonetheless, I got myself into a good frame of mind and, by then, it was all about getting myself ready,” he said.
Root certainly rues missing out on a debut hundred, but he is no mood to brood over the disappointment. Rather, he says, he would be more determined next time around. “You dream of it (century)… But you also keep yourself focussed for a similar opportunity in future… That’s what I said to myself.”
“I’ve dreamt about this opportunity for a very long time and am really very proud that it finally came my way,” Root said.
Understanding the situation and adapting to it as quickly as possible is the key to success, Root stressed. “Evaluation of conditions and assessing the different kinds of pitches is extremely important. It’s about trying to understand and adapting to the situation and focusing more on that specific part. I just tried to do that.”
He added: “Over here, conditions are more testing, facilitating reverse swing... So you need to use the conditions well to succeed.”
Talking about James Anderson’s bowling, Root heaped praise on the fast bowler. “Jimmy bowled fantastically. Truly, there’s been some great stuff from him. Throughout the series, he has been brilliant. However, a big day lies ahead tomorrow. If we just stick to what we’ve been doing so far, I believe we should be fine,” he said.
When asked who among the Indian bowlers he faced was the most difficult, Root’s diplomatic reply was: “All of them bowled very well and it would be unfair to pick any one out.”