ENG vs SA: Joe Root warns rivals that England are no ‘one-trick pony’
ENG vs SA: After the squad won their sixth Test match in seven games with their new hyper-aggressive style of cricket, Joe Root issued a warning to England’s competitors that they are no “one-trick pony.”
Under the new leadership of head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, England’s red-ball performance has improved.
On Monday at the Oval, the home team defeated South Africa 2-1, adding it to a 3-0 victory over New Zealand and a win in the lone postponed match against India.
It stands in stark contrast to their miserable record during Root’s final months as captain. That included just one victory in 17 games and concluded in April.
Although the constant optimism that was a hallmark of Stokes and McCullum’s success has been blamed for some hasty dismissals, Root believes that England’s performances became more complex as the season went on.
“We’re not just a one-trick pony,” he said. “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 also 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.”
In the fourth innings of all three Test matches against New Zealand. England defeated teams with totals of 275 or higher. Later, against India, England broke the previous record by easily achieving their target of 378.
Former captain Root thinks the team’s development under Stokes is comparable to the metamorphosis of England’s white-ball cricket under captain Eoin Morgan, who averaged 68 at an outstanding strike rate over the seven games.
The result was their 50-over World Cup victory in 2019.
“I’ve never had more fun playing professional cricket,” said Root. “Honestly, it is hard to put into words. You turn up every day and also 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. Also 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.”