The defending champions England have been knocked out of the tournament, as they have managed to win just three matches out of 9 and suffered devastating defeats against South Africa, India, and Sri Lanka.

Moreover, they failed to play as a unit, and their confidence was shattered right from the start of the tournament as they lacked complete teamwork and intent.

But having said that, one of the major reasons behind England’s failure was Joe Root’s inability to score runs in the middle order for the side. Joe Root, a renowned English cricketer, has been a prolific run-scorer throughout his career, consistently demonstrating his batting prowess in various cricket formats. 

However, during the 2023 ODI World Cup, Root’s performance was unexpectedly underwhelming, raising questions about his inability to score runs consistently.

Let’s study some of the factors that may have contributed to Root’s struggles during the tournament:

Struggle against Left-arm fast bowling

One of the primary factors that hindered Root’s performance was the vulnerability to left-arm fast-bowling attacks he faced. 

The tournament featured world-class bowlers who exploited Root’s weaknesses like Mitchell Starc, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoriful Islam, and Marco Jansen. 

The ability of bowlers to swing and seam the ball away from Root, coupled with his inability to pace, made it challenging for him to score runs freely.

Additionally, the pitches during the ODI World Cup were often conducive to swing bowling, further exacerbating Root’s struggles. These conditions favoured bowlers who could move the ball both ways, making it difficult for batsmen to drive the ball through the gaps. 

Root’s technical limitations against swing bowling, particularly his tendency to open up the front of his stance, made him particularly susceptible to these conditions.

Technical stuff that got stuffy?

During the ODI World Cup, Root experimented with some technical adjustments to his batting technique, particularly in his stance and footwork. 

These changes, while intended to improve his effectiveness against swing bowling, may have disrupted his natural rhythm and timing, affecting his ability to score runs consistently.

Furthermore, the dynamics of the England batting lineup during the tournament may have also influenced Root’s performance. 

The team’s overall strategy, which often involved promoting aggressive openers to set the tone, may have left Root with the role of consolidating the innings later in the order. 

This change in role, along with the pressure of playing in a high-stakes tournament, could have contributed to his struggles.

Weather Conditions

Root was quoted expressing terrible weather conditions in the match against South Africa and that he had never experienced anything similar to the conditions at hand. 

Although, he had played in hotter and possibly more humid environments before, the sensation was distinct, as if breathing was challenging and the air felt like something you were consuming.

Attempting to recover his breath, he found it challenging, yet acknowledged that facing such difficulties is part of the experience when one chooses to play in India during this time of the year.

Joe Root in the ODI World Cup 2023

MatchesRuns Scored
New Zealand77
South Africa2
Sri Lanka3

On the whole, Joe Root’s lack of scoring runs created tremendous pressure on the batting unit that lead to narrow defeats against various opponents.

Ultimately the defending champions were crippled in that there were hardly the heroics with the bat that a grand event of the stature of the 2023 World Cup demanded.

That said, make no mistake: it’s not for nothing that Joe Root is called a great batsman. Despite an ordinary World Cup, his white ball record- 16 tons, 39 fifties, and 6500 plus one day runs at an average of 47 speaks a thing or two about the Yorkshireman’s class.

Feature image– ICC Cricket World Cup


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