Off The Field

‘He is above everyone else’: Saba Karim says Root has ‘gone far ahead’ of Kohli, Williamson and Smith

Written by Mohan Sharma

Joe Root continues to garner accolades after leading England to victory in the first Test against New Zealand by scoring his 26th Test century and in the process becoming the second from his country to score 10,000 runs in the longest format of the game.

Root has long been included in the ‘Fab 4’ alongwith former India captain Virat Kohli, former Australia skipper Steve Smith and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. While Kohli remains ahead in terms of the number of international centuries and international runs scored, former India selector Saba Karim said that Root has left the rest of the three players behind in Test cricket.

“He has gone far ahead. Joe Root has left the other three batters far behind in the last two years. Whether we talk about consistency, technique or temperament, in all these aspects Joe Root is above everyone at the moment,” Karim said on India News Sports.

Kohli has not scored an international century for nearly three years while Smith hasn’t scored a century since January 2021. Williamson’s appearances in Test cricket has dwindled in this period due to a spare of injuries.

Root has scored 2192 runs, including nine centuries, in Test cricket since January 2021. Kohli, Williamson and Smith have not scored any centuries in this period and scored a combined 1460 Test runs. Karim pointed out that Root is often playing a lone hand in the fragile England batting order, with their new Test captain Ben Stokes the only showing any semblance of consistency over the past two years apart from Root. Meanwhile, the rest of the players in the Fab 4 always had other batters performing with them as well.

“And we are not discussing one more thing, that if we see England’s batting, other than Root, we are not seeing any other name coming to the forefront. It means Joe Root has single-handedly scored runs and hit centuries, he has not got any support from the other end. If we talk about India, along with Virat Kohli we have Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane and many other batters who have scored runs at the international level and supported him.

“The same is the case with New Zealand and Australia. Whether it is Indian conditions or Sri Lanka or England, this player (Root) has won matches on his own or has scored centuries. So the importance of that is even greater,” said Karim.

About the author

Mohan Sharma