We’re no one-trick pony – Joe Root ‘buzzing’ about potential of new-look England

Joe Root insisted England have shown more strings to their bow than just hyper-aggression as he likened their Test progress to the white-ball revolution that took place under Eoin Morgan.

Root’s captaincy ended with one win in 17 that left England bottom of the World Test Championship – an unflattering analysis that does not factor in the challenges that came with leading in Covid times.

To his credit the Yorkshireman has seamlessly shifted back into the rank and file under his great friend Ben Stokes, who has overseen six wins in a single home summer for the first time since 2004.

England have won six of their seven Tests this summer (John Walton/PA)
England have won six of their seven Tests this summer (John Walton/PA)

The success under Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum has been attributed to unwavering positivity and has led to some rash dismissals, but Root feels they showed more nuance as the summer progressed.

He said: “We’re not just a one-trick pony. There’s always going to be periods in Test cricket that you have to manage well and smartly.

“We’ve not got it right every time this summer but we’ve got it right more often than not and that’s why we’re sat here with six (wins) out of seven (Tests).

“We’re definitely not the finished article but to see the strides we’ve made in such a short space of time has been really a breath of fresh air.

“It makes the winter and beyond look very exciting for this team. To know there’s still more potential and areas we can improve is the most exciting part of it. I’m buzzing about it, to be honest.”

England chased down 275-plus totals in the fourth innings of all three Tests against New Zealand and then set a new record against India after overhauling 378, with Root’s form particularly eye-catching.

His returns dwindled in the 2-1 LV= Insurance Test series win against South Africa but he finishes the summer with three hundreds, a superb average of 68.33 and a noteworthy strike-rate of 73.12.

With England pushing for victory no matter the situation, Root believes their progress under Stokes is akin to what happened when Morgan ushered in a new way of thinking in the limited-overs formats in 2015, which culminated in their unforgettable 50-over World Cup triumph four years later.

Root said: “I know it is early days and there are a lot of different elements to Test cricket compared to the white-ball format but it is very exciting that there is the same sort of vibe around.

“That’s the exciting thing – what is the limit? How far can we go? You look at what that team has achieved over a period of time.

Joe Root has registered three Test hundreds this summer (David Davies/PA)
Joe Root has registered three Test hundreds this summer (David Davies/PA)

“There’s an element of real belief and excitement in everything we do at the minute. Long may that continue because I don’t think any of the guys who were involved in the last couple of years will easily forget how difficult that was.”

Root, who revealed he has “a slightly broader mind” since stepping down as skipper, is 124 Tests into his career but championed the leadership of Stokes and McCullum, echoing what veteran fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad have said about the harmonious dressing room recently.

He added: “I’ve never had more fun playing professional cricket. Honestly, it is hard to put into words. You turn up every day and you’re very excited about what’s going to happen. It’s the unknown.

“It’s quite a strange feeling to have played 120-odd games still to have that feeling when you turn up every day. It’s a really good place to be. Keeps you very hungry and motivated. You can bounce off the energy of everybody else who is in the same mindset.”