Joe Root’s Lonely and Painful journey in 2021

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Modified Jan 23, 2022 7:13 PM IST

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Joe Root is off to a bad start in 2022, and didn’t do too well towards the end of 2021. His late dip in form though is far from enough to overshadow a great year in Test Cricket. He was England’s most prolific batter and threatened the record for most runs in a calendar year on numerous occasions over the year.

While England kept collapsing, Joe Root stayed strong, and ensure England had enough runs on the board. With the ball as well, England seemed overly dependent on veteran James Anderson, and Joe Root shouldered the responsibility nicely bowling some strong spells of off-spin through the year. His bowling was effective, and it won’t be a step to far to say that he was England’s best spinner in Test Cricket through 2021.

The year started with daunting tours of Sri Lanka and India. With both tours happening simultaneously, bubble fatigue was a concern, and in a hot place with a lot of spin on offer the challenge was amplified. Joe Root though, rose to the challenge, and started his year with a bang. He made 228 in the first Test at Galle, and carried the batting line-up alone.

His knock gave England a strong lead, and with good support from the bowlers England managed an easy win. He continued with another daddy hundred in the second Test, and a double hundred in his 100th Test at Chennai, to give England a Test win in India.

The first three Tests of the year began in dominating fashion, and it was all Joe Root. His form though was’t enough as England lost in India, and then went on to lose against New Zealand at home. His bowling in India proved handy as well, with Root picking up a fifer in Ahmedabad, giving him the confidence to use his bowling more. England’s next Test assignment was against India at home, and the batting line-up remained a question.

Joe Root has been left alone with both ball and bat through the year, as he gave a superhuman performance.

With doubts regarding the batting line-up, Joe Root again came to the rescue with three centuries in the four Tests. He remained a class apart in both sides with only Rohit Sharma coming close. There was some support from the likes of Ali and Malan, who managed to make a comeback, and proved to be a handy partner.

Despite making three centuries at home, and a massive double in India, England failed to win both series. Out of 12 Tests in the year, England only managed four wins, and headed to Australia with only Joe Root to depend on with the bat. As expected, the batting unit didn’t live up the required level, and Joe Root, along with Malan were left to do too much.

With Leach struggling with the ball, Joe Root was given the added responsibility with the ball, and actually managed good numbers through the year. He finished 2021 with 14 wickets, and was England’s most threatening spinner through the year.

Heading to Australia, Joe Root started well, but failed to make the elusive hundred. He made fifties in the first three Tests, and threatened the three-figure mark only to fall short as England failed badly. Following a tough series, Root failed to beat the record for most runs in a year, by a small margin.

England finished with just four wins out of 15, and Joe Root was left alone as a bright spot in the year. He carried the batting line-up alone, but the lack of runs from his partner dragged him down as England ended another year in disappointment.