England captain Joe Root, who improved his skill at playing sweep shots to face the spinners early in his career, can face veteran Ravichandran Ashwin in the Test series against India in a similar manner. Former England captain Graham Gooch is known for playing this shot brilliantly against Asian spinners. The four-match Test series between India and England will begin on Friday with the first match to be played in Chennai.
The current captain of the team, Joe Root, established his reign by playing innings of 228 and 186 on the slow pitches of Sri Lanka. On the eve of the first match of the Test series against India, Root told how he started playing this shot.
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Indian captain Virat Kohli and Steve Smith of Australia, who are among the best batsmen of the current round along with Root, do not like to play sweep shots much. Root said at the virtual press conference here, ‘When I was young, I was shorter than others, my physical development was late. I had to devise some way to face the spinners and the sweep was a shot I was able to play with strength.
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Root, who surpassed the figure of 8000 runs in Test cricket, said, ‘During my junior career it was a good choice to score runs. Since that time, I have improved my game and worked on it with some great players and coaches. He said the sweep on a recent visit to Sri Lanka was an option that had less risk.
Asked about facing Ashwin, he said, ‘I will avoid playing against him or playing defensively, I will face the ball as he deserves. If I stay on the pitch for some time, I can score a big score. His record in India is excellent and perhaps he is full of confidence for this series.
He said, ‘I have faced him before and scored some runs against him. At times he proved to be better than me and in a Test match it would be like a short match. A match in which you want to do better.
Root however is aware of the risk involved in playing sweep shots. He said, “For me it is about understanding the pitch apart from the line-length of the ball. It is important to understand the bounce and turn of the ball while playing this shot. One has to think about all these risks before playing it.