England skipper Eoin Morgan has heaped praise on Joe Root, describing the star batsman as the “glue” that holds the team together.
Root hit his second century of the World Cup on Friday to steer the injury-depleted England to a convincing eight-wicket win over the West Indies here and captain Morgan could not have been more impressed.
“I am exceptionally pleased,” Morgan said after the match.
“He’s such an important player for us, he is the glue that holds everything together and probably a side of his batting that’s got better over the last two or three years that people haven’t seen a lot of is his expansive game.
“He never seems to be scoring at less than a run a ball. You look up and he’s going at more than a run a ball. It’s exceptional to see him come out and be in this form,” he said.
Morgan further added that Root was the man with a ‘golden arm’ as his part-time off-spin helped England pick up two key West Indian wickets — Shimron Hetmyer and captain Jason Holder — before his 94-ball unbeaten 100 made the hosts’ run chase look like a stroll in the park despite the absence of two key players in Morgan himself and Jason Roy due to injuries.
“Adil (Rashid) had got it to turn so much, Jos said ‘it’s turning more than you think here’ so we discussed it and then went with it for one, possibly two overs but Joe started brilliantly; he’s got a golden arm,” said Morgan.
Having also scored a century against Pakistan, Root has now amassed 279 runs in four matches, becoming the first England player to score two hundreds in a single edition of the World Cup since Kevin Pietersen 12 years ago.
He has also become the first in history to compile three in total, as the hosts moved to second position in the points table. Yet Root insisted that there was still room for improvement.
“It’s not about the number of runs you score, and being the one that stands out in terms of individual accolades,” said Root.
“It’s about building those substantial partnerships that win you games and collectively getting the job done. I feel like I’m playing all right. I don’t feel like I’m playing exceptionally well at the moment but I feel like I’m playing some good stuff and there’s still loads of things that I want to keep working on and keep improving,” said a modest Root.
“It was important we didn’t panic and kept it together. We managed to get across the line and did it really convincingly in the end so it’s a really good sign and will fill the dressing room with a lot of confidence in knowing that we don’t have to go about things in just one way to be successful,” he added.
Root, who ended up taking 2/27 off five overs, was surprise with his all-rounder status.
“I didn’t really expect (to get so many overs). I got the opportunity and it was nice to pick up a few wickets. I probably burgled them rather than out-skilled them. I’m not the most skilful off-spinner, so I was just trying to be as unpredictable as possible,” Root said.