Former England player Graeme Swann believes that Joe Root is currently the best batsman in the world. He said that as things stand, Root is a better player than Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson.
The outspoken spinner went on to claim that Root has a good chance of overtaking Alastair Cook’s record of most runs for England in Tests.
Root has been in scintillating form recently, amassing 426 runs in England’s 2-match Test series against Sri Lanka. This included a brilliant double century in the first Test.
It helped catapult Root above Geoffrey Boycott, Kevin Pietersen and David Gower in England’s list of leading run-scorers.
Root is currently in fourth position behind Alec Stewart, Graham Gooch and Cook. It is worth noting that Cook is still over 4000 runs ahead of his contemporary.
Swann believes that it is highly possible that Root will overtake Cook’s tally soon enough.
“That seems very possible. I’m not joking when I say I think he [Joe Root] is the best we’ve produced,” Swann said.
“I adore Cooky, a lovely player, but in terms of natural talent and pure batsmanship, Root is phenomenal.
“I honestly don’t think we’ve seen the best from him. Those Test matches in Sri Lanka, that’s what we should be seeing from him more often.
“He’s been dragged down by the captaincy. If he would have been left to bat, he would have scored more runs. But, I think he’s matured into it and found the balance now.
“He could average 60 or 70 in this series [against India] and really give England a fighting chance. For me, the form of Joe Root is the one thing that really excites me for the India series now.
“When you’ve got a batsman scoring that heavily and looking that sound… he could have a massive series and I’m excited about that.”
Root’s place in the fabled big 4 of world cricket was under some threat after he spent over a year without a Test century.
Sri Lankan conditions and a below standard bowling line-up allowed him back into form.
‘Root best batsman in the world’
Swann believes that India could struggle heavily against Root and that he could score ‘mountains of runs’.
India and England will compete in 9 Test matches against each other, the first 4 in India before the teams make the trip to England.
While he did admit that he may be biased, but he said Root was better than Kohli, Smith and Williamson.
“I’ve been waiting for Joe to have his turn. We’ve seen the ‘big four’ batsman in world cricket go big, now Root’s due his turn.
“Since I’m completely biased, he’s the best of the lot. It’s his year and I want him to score a ridiculous amount of runs. If he does that, it gives England a chance.’
England’s four-match Test series against India starts on Friday in Chennai.
‘Much tougher at home than on tour’
The team will be without some of its best players owing to ECB’s rotation policy. As a result, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood and Sam Curran will miss the first half of the tour, while Jos Buttler is set to be rested for the final three Tests.
Swann said he was baffled that players had a problem with bio-secure bubbles. “Sending people home baffles me. It baffles me that living in a bubble can be seen as a hard thing when you’re in five-star hotels and surrounded by 40 or 50 people.
“You’re not going to get much sympathy from people because it’s a lot bloody harder at home on your own. I know where I’d rather be.
“It’s ridiculous, let’s face it. Living in a bubble is a piece of cake compared to being on your own without that support network.
“Being at home is harder than being on tour and being pampered. I’ve done both and I know which one is harder.
“You pick your best team for Test cricket. This is a massive tour. It’s arguably the hardest Test series out there. This is the Test series we should be looking to win,” he said.