SPORTS

Joe Root’s Conversion Problem

In Test Cricket today, whenever there is a discussion about the top young batsmen in the game, four names figure prominently. These names include Steven Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Virat Kohli. These batsmen are under 30 years, captain their team, and everyone currently averages over 50 in Test Cricket. They are consistent performers and will undoubtedly be listed among the greats when they are through with cricket. However, one of the significant difference between Joe Root and the other three young dominant test batsmen is Root’s inability to convert his half-centuries into big centuries. We will analyze Joe Root’s batting record so far in his career.

Joe Root has so far played 117 innings in Test cricket and has passed 50 on 48 occasions, which is incredibly consistent. However, he has only converted 13 of these 50’s into centuries, which is a conversion percentage of 0.27. When compared to his three modern day contemporaries, his conversion rate is by far the lowest; Virat Kohli has passed 50 on 35 occasions and has converted 20 into centuries, giving him a conversion rate of 0.57. Steven Smith had a conversion rate of precisely 50%, having scored 50 or more on 44 occasions and converted 22 of those into centuries and Kane Williamson, the New Zealand prodigy has a conversion rate of 0.40 with 17 centuries from 43 50 plus scores. Joe Roots conversion problem has progressively gotten worse, since the start of 2016, he has past 50 23 times and has converted only 5 of these into centuries, converting at a disappointing 21%.

Root himself cannot seem to put a finger on the conversion issues and has consistently reiterated that he is striking the ball well and feels very good about his batting. He has continuously resolved that he will make a concerted effort to avoid lapses in concentration, which would allow him to bat for the long periods and make the big centuries that everyone knows he can do. This has still not happened for Root, and I have pinpointed two possible reasons for this. One of these might be that Root is putting too much pressure on himself to score hundreds, he, therefore, becomes less focused on playing each delivery on its merit after passing 50 and is more consumed with thoughts of a century. This mindset more times than not leads to the downfall of a batsman since a clouded mind is the enemy of good batting! Root should just approach each innings with a clear mind and just bat instinctively and naturally and he will surely convert more of 50’s into big hundreds and by extension put his team in dominant positions.

Another possible explanation is that Root gets supremely confident when he is batting well, which sometimes results in him playing a few injudicious strokes that cost him his wicket. Root is a free-flowing batsman that likes to feel the ball on his bat and to keep the scoreboard ticking, he does not like being tied down by bowlers, and if this happens for a period, Root might play a rash stroke to reassert ascendency over the bowler who sometimes leads to his downfall. The solution to this is for Root to play each ball on its merit and not try to dominate recklessly in the face of good bowling, this should also help the unflappable Joe Root to improve his conversion rate in Test cricket significantly.

Joe Root without a doubt will finish his career as one of the best players to wear an England shirt in Test cricket; he, however, would want to correct the conversion problem, which would be a blip on his legacy if not done and he has enough time left in his career to do so.

Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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