NEW DELHI There was never an iota of doubt over Joe Root's class since his 2012 test debut against India but the 25-year-old Yorkshireman's latest heroics have left many wondering if he is England's best ever batsman across the three formats of the game.
Root is among the rare breed of Twenty20 batsmen who need not sacrifice aesthetics to score freely, a virtue he displayed with a magnificent 83 in England's campaign-reviving victory against South Africa in Friday's World Twenty20 match in Mumbai.
He bejewelled the knock with four sixes and six boundaries but his fluency against a formidable-looking attack was highlighted by the fact he scored off 41 of the 44 deliveries he faced during his classy knock at the Wankhede Stadium.
"He is the best England batsman across all forms of cricket... ever," former England captain Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports after the team chased down an imposing target of 230 to record a two-wicket win.
"I know that is a big comment but can you name another batsman who could do what he does as well as him?
"He is our best player, a star, and will only get better. These are the best years of his life," added the cricketer-turned-pundit.
England captain Eoin Morgan marvelled at Root's ability to succeed across formats with so few changes to his technique.
"He is the (most) complete batsman that we've ever had," Morgan told BBC radio. "That innings last night was so substantial, certainly in the circumstances of this team as it is at the moment.
"It gives us great confidence to know he can go out and play the way he does without changing his game a great deal, and shows his class and composure as if it was a 50-over game or a test match."
Not yet 26, Root already has 17 international centuries to his name and averages almost 55 in tests and 44-plus in one-dayers.
Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell is impressed by the versatility of the player who, he is convinced, will soon take over the England captaincy.
"A good cricketer is a good cricketer," Chappell told ESPNCricinfo. "If you tell him he has got five days you play, he'd play accordingly; 50-overs and he'd change a bit, 20-overs and he'll adapt again. That's Joe Root.
"He is not endowed with great power, so he stands deeper in his crease to get the ball short so he can bang it over the boundary. He's got a very good cricket brain. Sometime pretty soon, he will make a very good captain of England."
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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