Former England captain Nasser Hussain has ranked charismatic cricketer Joe Root ahead of legends like Graham Gooch, Alastair Cook, David Gower and Kevin Pietersen, saying that the 31-year-old takes the game to “exceptional levels in difficult circumstances”.
Root is just the second Englishman to have scored more than 10,000 Test runs after Cook. He has played a vital role in England taking a an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series against New Zealand currently underway.
Root struck an unbeaten 115 in the first Test at Lord’s which the hosts won by five wickets, and then played another match-defining knock of 176 in the first innings of the second Test at Trent Bridge as the Ben Stokes-led side again won by five wickets.
During the course of the series, the former England Test captain became just the 14th player to score 10,000 Test runs. He has scored 10 Test centuries since the start of 2021. Hussain feels if Root continues to plunder runs the way he is doing, he will soon surpass Cook as England’s all-time leading Test run-getter.
“I’m selecting from those I have seen and, yes, Joe Root has gone to the top now,” Hussain told the Daily Mail. “He has just taken his game to exceptional levels in difficult circumstances over the past 18 months.
“Joe has this great rhythm and looks to score all the time in a beautifully controlled way. Now he is regularly converting half-centuries into three figures, he will go on to break Sir Alastair Cook’s England record and who knows how many others.”
Hussain listed Gooch as second to Root, describing the legend as a “tough, over-my-dead-body batter” who was “ahead of his time”. Cook is third behind Good on Hussain’s list, with the former skipper praising his mental toughness as “second to none”.
“I’d heard about his timing and seen him on TV but then I played against him at Leicestershire and he just leant on one and before I moved at cover point it hit the boundary,” said Hussain about Cook.
On Pietersen, Hussain said the cricketer-turned-commentator was “incredibly watchable”. “That Twitter account, KP Genius, summed up Kevin Pietersen because that’s what he was. He would play remarkable innings and would target the opposition’s best bower.”