Cricket Opinion Players

Will England’s poor form minimise Joe Root’s incredible legacy?

There must be times when Joe Root, standing at the non-striker’s end, feels a burning sense of frustration while watching his teammates get skittled cheaply yet again. 

The Yorkshireman will never admit it, but given he’s only human after all, you can be certain that the lack of application from his colleagues in cricket’s longest format leaves him feeling exasperated. 

To put it in perspective, Root has notched up a whopping 1244 runs in 2021, which is three times more than any other England batsman has managed over the course of the year so far. 

Indeed, Rory Burns is second on the list with a rather paltry 363 runs. Unsurprisingly, this lack of support for Root has seen England struggle in the Test arena in 2021 with a disappointing loss at home to New Zealand being the latest in a serially underwhelming run of results. 

This now leaves the ECB having to face up to the prospect of overhauling the Test side in an Ashes year, which is far from ideal. Indeed, you’re asking for trouble if you try to send the next generation of England’s cricketers to the fast pitches of Australia to play in front of the most hostile crowds in the world.

It’s naturally no surprise then to see the Australians as the favourites at 11/25 odds to win the Ashes in the latest cricket betting markets and should that happen, you do begin to fear for Root’s legacy as an England captain. 

After all, this would then be the second time Root has failed to win the Ashes as captain after the Australians managed to draw the 2019 series, which meant that they successfully retained the urn. Given that Root is now likely to oversee two Ashes’ disappointments, it’s easy to picture a scenario where his record as captain overshadows his remarkable achievements with the bat. 

Regrettably, that’s how cricket history is remembered, through numbers, but then this also offers the 30-year-old a chance to leave his mark on the game. If Root is to safeguard his legacy, then he’ll have to eclipse Sir Alastair Cook’s 12472 runs, which makes him currently England’s highest ever run-scorer in the Test arena. 

Encouragingly, Root went to second on the list during the second Test match against India at Lord’s and now sits on 9067, so you would imagine that if he was to notch up another 3406 runs, his legacy wouldn’t be tarnished by England’s poor form over the last 12 months. 

Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse before they get better for England when you consider how much work this side ultimately needs to do before they can begin holding their own in the Test arena again. Batting for England may still be a lonely experience for Root in the years to come, but should he keep scoring at the rate he is, then all of his brilliance at the crease won’t have gone to waste.