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Desperate to fit in, Root losing balance and natural game in ‘Bazball’ era: Alastair Cook

LONDON: Senior batter Joe Root’s desperation to fit into skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum’s ‘Bazball’ plans is making him lose his “balance” and natural game in the ongoing Test series against India, feels former England captain Alastair Cook.

The last international captain to lead a side to Test series victory in India back in 2012, Cook feels that Root never seemed in control during his short second innings of 16 off 10 balls, during which he looked to attack every delivery, in the second Test against India.

England lost by 106 runs as ‘Bazball’ couldn’t take the visitors to a stiff target of 399.

“He is England’s best batsman there’s ever been in all formats but he does struggle sometimes with the tempo of this Bazball era,” Cook, who is England’s highest Test run-getter, said on ‘TNT Sports’ channel.

“He sees all these other people playing these aggressive shots, which suit their style. Rooty has got 11,500 Test runs, he’s brilliant, but he’s so desperate to fit in to what Ben (Stokes) and Brendon (McCullum) are doing that sometimes I don’t think he gets his balance of attack and defence right,” the owner of 12,472 Test runs said.

Cook wants Root to play at his natural rate rather than ape other players, who are scoring at a quicker rate.

“He was on 16 off nine balls and he doesn’t normally strike at that rate – he’s normally striking at 75 to 80, which is still incredibly high for a Test match strike-rate, with zero risk.

“That’s when I love watching Joe Root bat.”

Cook feels that if Root gets his first 15 runs, he is always in line to get a hundred, something that didn’t seem likely on Monday in Visakhapatnam.

“When he gets in, you call it early. I’ve called it early a few times on sub-continent days: he’s on 15 but he’s getting a hundred here.

“He’s going to milk them at his will, sweeps, all in control. I don’t think he was in that control,” he observed.

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