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The eyes and the figures confirm Joe Root is already in rarefied company

The Yorkshireman, at 25, is years from his peak yet his rapid development has made him the key batsman for England

It is possible to demonstrate what a phenomenon Joe Root has become by churning out the figures (and we’ll have a go at that later on). But there is another way, which is to use our eyes. Watch Root at the crease and here is a man effortlessly fulfilling his destiny. He is still only 25; he should be three or four years from his peak, but there he is in the middle, so relaxed in his work, smiling away to his partner, so confident that he can cope. Like Geoffrey Boycott before him, that strip of 22 yards is his natural habitat. It is where he belongs.

Seldom has a batsman evolved so rapidly. It is less than four years since Root made his Test debut in Nagpur (in the same city, though not the same arena, that Alastair Cook first represented England in 2006). His was a surprise selection; England had just won two Tests in a row but Cook had seen the poise with which Root played the spinners in the nets. With the series still undecided Root replaced Samit Patel, which meant that he was also preferred to the more experienced Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan in the team.

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