Joe Root deserves England T20 recall, insists Yorkshire CCC chief Martyn Moxon

YORKSHIRE County Cricket Club director of cricket Martyn Moxon is urging England not to forget about Joe Root as a Twenty20 player and believes that he can help them in their bid to become double white-ball world champions.
Yorkshire Vikings' Joe Root: His figures match the best in the world. Picture: PAYorkshire Vikings' Joe Root: His figures match the best in the world. Picture: PA
Yorkshire Vikings' Joe Root: His figures match the best in the world. Picture: PA

Moxon feels that Root has all the attributes to assist England as they aim to add the World T20 crown in India next winter to their 50-over World Cup triumph of 2019.

Although one of the world’s best and most adaptable batsmen, Root has played just 32 T20 internationals, the most recent against Pakistan at Cardiff in May last year.

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To put that into context, the rest of world cricket’s so called ‘Fab Four’ have aggregated 184 appearances between them – Virat Kohli (82), Kane Williamson (60) and Steve Smith (42).

England's Joe Root batting during an ODI match against Australia at Emirates Old Traffordlast month - Yorkshire's MartynMopxon is convinced the Test captain has the ideal T20 game. Picture: Shaun Botterill/NMC Pool/PAEngland's Joe Root batting during an ODI match against Australia at Emirates Old Traffordlast month - Yorkshire's MartynMopxon is convinced the Test captain has the ideal T20 game. Picture: Shaun Botterill/NMC Pool/PA
England's Joe Root batting during an ODI match against Australia at Emirates Old Traffordlast month - Yorkshire's MartynMopxon is convinced the Test captain has the ideal T20 game. Picture: Shaun Botterill/NMC Pool/PA

There are those who contend that Root, who turns 30 in December, should forget about T20 altogether and concentrate on what might be called his main fortes of first-class and one-day cricket.

However, the Yorkshireman is an under-rated figure in the 20-over discipline, and he possesses the highest average (35.72) of any Englishman to have played a minimum of 20 T20 international innings – behind only Kevin Pietersen (37.93).

Root’s strike-rate of 126 runs per 100 balls is better than Williamson (125), and it loses little when set against that of Smith (131) and Kohli (138).

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Moxon, who watched at close hand as Root starred in Yorkshire’s T20 Blast campaign this year with 278 runs in five innings at 69.50, including four half-centuries, is adamant that the Test captain would be in his first-choice England T20 side.

Yorkshire CCC director of cricket Martyn Moxon.
 Picture: Jonathan GawthorpeYorkshire CCC director of cricket Martyn Moxon.
 Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Yorkshire CCC director of cricket Martyn Moxon. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“I’d personally have him in,” said Moxon. “Seeing how he’s played recently in T20 cricket, there’s got to be, for me, a place in the team for Joe because he’s not just a one-trick pony, that’s the thing.

“He gives you great versatility and can play the situation, and I think to win T20 games you need at least one of those types of players that the power-hitters – for want of a better term – can play around.

“Joe can be the foil for the power-hitters in the England team, and he still scores at a very fast rate himself.”

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Root, who also took seven wickets in Yorkshire’s T20 games at an average of 16, accepts that he has no divine right to walk into England’s T20 line-up.

He has often been rested from international T20 to ensure that he is in the best shape for Test and one-day cricket, and he recognises that the hectic schedules make it a difficult juggling act for the team management.

However, no-one who saw Root play for Yorkshire this year can be in any doubt that he has all the skills to thrive in Eoin Morgan’s XI.

His style at the crease – and his ability to manage any situation – made a major impression on Moxon.

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“I think if ever he had a point to prove, he did that,” he said of Root’s displays in the T20 Blast.

“He’s just so clever, and so smart. He can play the situation so well, and I think that was the great thing of having Joe around as much as we did this year – how our younger players, in particular, were able to learn from him and the way that he goes about building an innings in any format, and certainly in T20 where he’s so good at playing the situation and doing what’s required at the time to win a game.

“His ability to manage risk is as good as anybody, I think. His strike-rate is high, but with control as well. It’s not frantic, and it just shows that it’s not just about swinging and hoping in T20.

“Joe was very measured and controlled and he’s just got a vast array of options, the shots that he can play, and that doesn’t happen by chance.

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“It’s a lot of hard work. And that’s what he does – he works so hard at giving himself all the options that he needs.

“He’s very good then at selecting which ones he needs to use at which time and what the match situation demands.”

Moxon was thrilled to have Root around full-stop after the conclusion of the Test summer.

“He was brilliant for us,” he added. “The way he helped our younger players, his desire to do well, his desire to help Yorkshire win, his desire to help the players improve and pass on any advice was just amazing.

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“As we said to him, we’re just very grateful that he put himself about to play in those games because he could easily have just had a rest.

“But he had a great desire to play.

“His time with us was invaluable. From a coach’s point of view, to have Joe with us for that period of time was a coach’s dream.

“He’s just such a humble guy when he comes back to us. He’s just Joe Root. He’s willing to help out in the nets, he’ll speak to any player and help them in any way he can. He’s just an outstanding individual and a great professional.”

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Thank you, James Mitchinson. Editor.