Sir Alastair Cook’s England were the last visiting side to win a Test series in India. Since then, in over eight years, Team India have just lost one Test at home. However, former England cricketer Ian Bell believes his country can repeat the unthinkable if Joe Root replicates Cook’s incredible feats with the bat.
Cook amassed 562 runs in the 2012-13 tour of India, slamming three centuries as England won the series by a 2-1. Current England captain Joe Root, who made his Test debut in that series, has started the ongoing series with a fine century on the first day of the first Test in Chennai.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Ian Bell, who was part of the England squad during their famous tour of India, said:
“From an English point of view, that’s what we need. If England have any chance of winning, you need special things. We saw Alastair Cook do that in 2012 and Joe Root is that player now, if he has a special series, then we don’t know what can happen.”
Bell further added in this regard:
“It’s day one and England have got the best of conditions. If England want anything out of these 12-18 months, then Root has to lead from the front which he is doing.”
2021 will see England play 17 Tests, including trips to Sri Lanka, India, and Australia. They are also scheduled to host New Zealand and India this year.
Playing his third Test of the year, Joe Root is already nearing the 600-run mark, a great sign for England.
“This is a big year for him when you are touring Indian away and Ashes away, they are big big series and are career-defining. It has been a perfect start as a captain and also Joe Root, the batsman,” Ian Bell added.
Comparing Joe Root to the other three modern-day great batsmen – Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and, Kane Williamson – Ian Bell added that the England skipper has set high standards for himself and worked extremely hard during the COVID-19-enforced break to strengthen his technique.
“The four players that we talk about, the other three, they play at such a high level and are so consistent over a period of time. Joe himself said he didn’t score a century in 2020 which isn’t up to the standard or consistency he has played at over a period of time. What I do know is that in the break due to COVID he has worked extremely hard in the little technical areas and he has the hunger to get better,” Ian Bell added.
Nasser Hussain echoed similar views about Joe Root being in the same league as Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Steve Smith. The former England captain also mentioned how self-introspection during the coronavirus-induced break helped Root to up his game.
Special player.#R100T 👏
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 5, 2021