Root’s efficiency a crucial piece in Morgan’s World Cup puzzle

In a batting order otherwise packed full of raw power and aggression, Joe Root is the exception. At number three he is the glue around which the rest of England’s batsmen play, the man who ticks along at a run a ball, or there or thereabouts, holding the innings together. Root is a vital piece of Eoin Morgan’s puzzle. The likes of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow may grab more headlines but quietly, efficiently, Root has been just as important a part of England’s surge to the top of the world rankings.
His record since the last World Cup is remarkably good, averaging 58 from 78 matches, including ten hundreds in the process of scoring nearly 3,500 ODI runs. He’s been no slouch either. Those runs have come with a strike rate of 91. By any standard, those are seriously good numbers and in any other England one-day team except this one, Root would have been feted, the star of the show. But now, even he acknowledges that his game is more conventional and, dare one say it, more conservative than the rest of England’s batting order.That is not a criticism. You can’t have every batsman in the order teeing off, every innings. Adaptability and different combinations working together are important. Nor is Root’s an easy role to play and his all-round excellence against pace and spin, his ability to assess conditions and bat for long periods of time, scoring hundreds, while religiously keeping the scoreboard ticking over is so vital to England’s chances. In the rarefied levels of the team’s white-ball batting, it may seem like the donkey work but it’s no less vital for that.