Former Indian World Cup-winning bowler Zaheer Khan lauded Root for his performance and said that Root has shown character in the game. Zaheer Khan had already predicted before that Root might cause troubles for India in the series. The prediction has come true until now.
Zaheer Khan pointed out that Root was criticized for his captaincy decisions in the Lord’s test. For a player to come over that criticism and shine bright as he did in the first innings shows the character Root has. Zaheer also praised Root for his cover drives which were technically perfect and a delight to watch.”It’s extremely important for a leader to inspire his players, motivate his players after a huge defeat and Root did just that. He showed his potential and lead by example. Also, since the opening partnership had already made things easier, it helped Root to play freely and go for different shots.” This indeed was reflected in Root’s strike rate which was 73.33. That’s a pretty impressive strike rate in Test cricket.
The 42-year-old added, “Also since the ground of Headingley is his(Root’s) home ground, it acted as an advantage to him. Of course, Root’s stats on this ground were not excellent but the family’s presence in the stadium might have done the trick for him. Another important factor was that in most of the matches, Root had to play a defensive game. The openers weren’t performing well, also the one-down batsmen were not at their best. This would force Root to stick on the crease and consume some time. But this match was different. When Root came on the crease, Malan was already well set and had scored runs. This allowed Root to play more freely. So, “form” and “platform”, these two things combined made Root so destructive as a batsman in this innings.
Root’s Performance in this Series so far:
Matches Venue Scores
1st Test Nottingham 64 & 109
2nd Test Lord’s 180* & 33
3rd Test Headingley 121
Zaheer Khan concluded by saying, “Root’s cover drive was my favorite shot. In this series so far, Root had played square drives or the more traditional shots as they call it. But in this inning, he even played the reverse sweep.”
The reverse sweep against Jadeja after reaching the century was another shot that signified the self-confidence Root now has. Gavaskar had commented on this shot,” It is one of those shots where you might look very silly if you get out. But it’s how batsmen these days play. They just have so much belief in themselves and their ability.”