‘One of the best players, without a doubt’: Joe Root praises Babar Azam

England cricketer Joe Root. — Photo by author 

Praising Pakistan captain Babar Azam, England’s top order batter Joe Root Wednesday deemed him as one of the best players round the world “without a doubt”.

“He’s done it across formats for a number of years now. His record across the world in Test cricket has been pretty consistent. He’s one of those players whom you sit and watch as he bats. He’s going to go from strength to strength,” Root said in an exclusive conversation with Geo News.

He added that while Babar hasn’t peaked just yet and there’s more to come. “So we’re going to have to play really well to keep him quiet.”

Commenting on the England cricket team dealing with health issues a day ahead of their first Test match against Pakistan on December 1 in Rawalpindi, the English cricketer hoped that his teammates will recover in 24 hours and reap into a great series.

“I think there’s a virus going around the team. It’s just one of those things sometimes. We don’t think its food related. It’s just an unfortunate thing that can happen sometimes when you’ve got a group, they’re tight together. I didn’t feel great yesterday and feel much better today. So hopefully, it’s just a 24-hour thing and the guys can turn it tomorrow and we can reap into what should be a great series,” he said.

Joe Root added that England’s arrival in Pakistan for the three-match series is a huge moment for Test cricket and suggested that his team would continue playing the way it has been playing for the last few months.

The 31-year-old Root has played 124 Tests and 158 ODIs along with 32 T20Is and has amassed over 17,600 runs in international cricket.

When asked about the series in Pakistan, the 124-Test veteran said that it is a huge moment for Test cricket and England has been looked after well.

“I feel very fortunate. We’ve been looked after extremely well since we come in, and we’re very excited to get into it, it should be a fantastic contest. We know how good Pakistan are, they have some wonderful players across the board in all departments. So, we know how to play some great cricket but I think that makes for a very entertaining and exciting test series,” Root said.

“I think there’s a number of very talented seamers within the group, there’s some class in batting. It’s a very well-rounded team throughout and we’re just going to have to play in the same manner as we have done over the last year, and the exciting style that we’ve been playing with, which has been great. It is an opportunity to do that away from home now as well,” he added.

Commenting on England’s style of Test cricket, Root said that the game needs to be enjoyed and that’s exactly what England is trying to do.

“We know that obviously results are important and I think if we play in this manner and we play how we have done, then the results will look after themselves. But ultimately, we’re here to entertain and that’s exactly what we plan on doing over the next three games,” he said.

“I think everyone will have their own views on that. I’ve never had more fun playing Test cricket than in the last six months. So, I think it’s fantastic for the game. I think it’s really exciting to play. It looks very exciting to watch as well. And, surely that’s what cricket is all about, making it entertaining for the people either sitting at home watching on television or in those in the stadium. So, if we can try and make that even better spectacle then we’ll definitely try our best to do so,” he said when asked if that’s the way Test cricket should be played now.

Replying to a question regarding Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi, Joe Root said that Afridi has done well for Pakistan over the year but the team has good depth in fast bowling and can do well against England.

“Even though such a good bowler is missing out we know there are others as well that we’re going to have to respect and wait for the right time to try and counter,” Root added.

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