England skipper Joe Root took the top spot in ICC Test rankings for batsmen.© AFP
England captain Joe Root’s stunning 2021 form has seen the Yorkshireman rise to number one Test batsman in the ICC Rankings for the first time in six years. Root previously held the number one spot back in 2015 but had drifted to ninth at the start of the year. Since then he has been in masterful form, scoring 1,398 runs in 11 matches at a lofty average of 69.90. There have been six centuries since the turn of the year, including three in as many matches in the ongoing series against India. The 30-year-old has hit scores of 109, 180 not out and 121 in the past month, during which he has soared past opposite number Virat Kohli, Australia duo Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
“I’m obviously proud to hear I’ve achieved that, it would be nice to be able to stay there now,” said Root ahead of the fourth Test against India, that starts on Thursday with the series tied at 1-1.
“Hopefully the form of my life is still to come, but I certainly feel very good at the moment and need to stay focused.”
For the first time in almost four years, Kohli is not his side’s top-rated batsman. After just one half-century in seven innings since arriving in England, he has been usurped by opener Rohit Sharma at number five.
Meanwhile, Root will have a new vice-captain this week with Moeen Ali stepping into the role with Jos Buttler absent to attend the birth of his second child.
“Moeen is a natural leader. He’s someone who the team gravitate towards for a number of reasons,” added Root.
“He’s got a brilliant cricket brain, he’s done wonderfully well when he’s done the role in domestic cricket and last year for England in the shorter format. He’s absolutely the right man for the role.”
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