Ominously for the rest of the cricketing world, Graham Gooch believes that in Joe Root England have unearthed a similar talent to Alistair Cook and that the two openers both have similarly steely mentalities.
Root and Cook have opened together during the first two tests of the Ashes series and the young Yorkshireman has really grown into the role, notching up a hugely impressive 178 in the second Test at Lord’s.
Despite many commentators expecting Root to struggle under the weight of expectation, he has proved the selectors right for showing faith in him and, having also nurtured Alistair Cook through his development at Essex, this comes as no surprise to Gooch.
“They are both mature for young men, and Alastair Cook had a similar mentality when he was Joe’s age,” Gooch said. “He was mature in the mind – he knew exactly how he could score runs– and I think anyone who saw Joe saw that too.”
Root made his international debut against India in December last year and since then he has gone on to make two centuries and two half centuries in eight tests. At just 22, Root has established himself as a fixture in the England side and he cuts a confident figure at the crease. He is currently favourite in the Ashes betting to top England’s run-scoring charts throughout the series.
For Gooch, Root’s success is to down to his attitude and his hard work in the nets. “Joe, from the first time we saw him in India, was an impressive young character,” the England batting coach said. “I’m not surprised at all that he’s moving forward with his skill levels, the way he works at his game and all the disciplines that are in place.”
England fans who bet on the Ashes will certainly hope that Gooch is correct and that Root can continue to develop in the way that Alistair Cook has over the last few years. If Root turns out to be half the player that Cook has then England can expect many more years of international success.