Superhuman Root will overtake Alastair Cook and become England’s greatest ever batsman

It was all too coincidental.

As Joe Root hit the 100th run of his innings last Sunday, it also happened to be his 10,000th run in his Test cricket career, becoming the 14th batter to achieve this feat. 

However, that is not the only place where the stars aligned.

Root was 31 years and 157 days of age on that day, the exact same age (to the day) as when the only other Englishman to reach that total, Sir Alastair Cook, hit the monumental figure.

That got me thinking, will Root overtake Cook now that he has lost the potentially overwhelming weight of captaincy?

Before we look at Root’s chances, we must first analyse Cook’s tally.

In a 12-year international career, which ended in 2018, England’s greatest opener notched up 12,145 runs. In the process he also got an English record of 32 centuries.

That is impressive, to say the least. Of the retired batters to have scored over 10,000 runs, Cook had the shortest career.

The hypothetical question could be asked that if he had more longevity, could the answer to my question be different?

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We can talk hypotheticals, but the reality is unless Root’s career is as short as Cook’s, Joe Root will surpass Alastair Cook and become the highest scoring Englishman to have ever played Test cricket.

There are multiple reasons why I believe this is the case.

One, and the most obvious, is that Root needs approximately 2400 runs. At his current rate (which is over 1000 runs a year) he should reach that number in less than three years.

I think he can do it in a shorter time than that.

Root has lost the looming presence of being the captain, and in just his second innings after resigning that role, he scored 115 not out.

Free of the pressure and responsibility that leading your team brings, Root could surpass Cook’s total in less than two years.

Joe Root and Ben Stokes.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The truth is Root is brilliant, as Cook was.

After some staggering spells by the English bowlers, particularly from debutant Matthew Potts, Root dug the batters out of a deep hole, and if he had gone cheaply, England would have almost certainly lost the Test.

The team was well and truly on his shoulders, and despite New Zealand’s best efforts, he scored the necessary runs.

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And with the help of Ben Foakes, who managed to stay in at the other end, England won the Test match.

This is the sign of a team where one thing has changed but another has stayed the same.

Ben Stokes has inherited the captaincy from Joe Root but Root is still the man expected to drag England through the thick of batting collapses, as captain or not.

I might’ve just gone a bit off topic towards the end of this article, but it was all to reinforce my point that Root is outstanding, he will overtake Cook’s 12,000 runs and – whisper it quietly – become England’s greatest ever batsman.

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