ISN’T it fabulous to see England batsman Joe Root formally recognised for his great Ashes contribution … lending his face to Dave Warner’s fist.
TWO AUSSIES IN WISDEN TOP FIVE
Root’s head-butt of Warner’s fist in a Birmingham nightclub last year was undoubtedly a forward-thinking masterstroke. The Poms loved it when Australia suspended Warner from the Ashes opener and did not recall him until the third Test.
Now cricket bible Wisden has given Root the ultimate acknowledgement for the nightclub naughtiness, naming the baby-faced batsman as one of its five Cricketers of the Year.
Well surely that is why they have given him the traditional honour, which dates back to 1889? It can’t be for his batting. Or anything else.
Let’s look at the figures that matter.
In 2013, the best Root could muster was a batting average of 34.48 spread across the large sample size of 14 Tests.
And in the Ashes in England which the Poms won comprehensively, he averaged 37.
The pointy heads at Wisden named him as one of the world’s five best cricketers on the back of one really good innings, his 180 in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
After Wisden’s grand announcement, there were plenty of other one-hit wonders feeling more than a bit miffed they weren’t included on the list.
And what about the likes of Michael Clarke (1093 Test runs at 47 in 2013), South Africa batsman AB de Villiers (933 runs at 77) and Pommy quick Stuart Broad (62 wickets at 25.8).
Not to mention Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson who still managed to take 34 Test wickets at 17.52 despite missing a large chunk of the Test year.
The issue here is that Wisden’s award doesn’t actually recognise the best players of the year, it simply glorifies performances from the previous English summer.
And you can’t win the award twice.
So Root got the gig on a process of elimination as just about every other England player had won it already.
In the fair dinkum department, it was a much greater honour for the overseas players Ryan Harris, Chris Rogers and India’s Shikhar Dhawan who were among the five Cricketers of the Year.
Wisden has been known as the cricket bible for an eternity but Root’s award shows it can be a book that sometimes makes no sense.