The new issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly reveals Joe Root to be England’s most valuable Test player of the 21st century, according to an analysis by CricViz.
Based exclusively on CricViz’s market-leading analytics, each player in world cricket has been awarded an ‘MVP rating’ using a statistical model to rank their ‘match impact’ compared to their peers.
Root, with an MVP rating of 74.4, was placed 14th overall, and first among Englishmen in Test cricket. He has 7,599 Test runs at 48.40, with 17 hundreds and 48 fifties, with eight Player of the Match awards in that time. No England player with more than 1,000 runs has a better average than Root since Ken Barrington ended his career in 1968.
“Such is the fixation on the England captain’s comparatively poor conversion rate of fifties into hundreds that it’s sometimes easy to overlook the overall numbers he has posted,” wrote WCM. “Since Root’s debut in 2012, no player in the world has passed 50 on more occasions, and his average is the best of any England batsman in more than 50 years – this in home conditions that in recent seasons have been more challenging for batsmen than anywhere else. At 29, he still has time, if he has the will, to overhaul Sir Alastair as his country’s most prolific run-scorer.”
The only other Englishman in the top 30 was off-spinner Graeme Swann, who came in at 19th position, with an MVP rating of 69.5. He claimed 255 Test wickets at 29.96, with 17 five-wicket hauls.
“For a world-class spinner, Swann’s Test career was relatively brief but it spanned a hugely successful period for England,” wrote WCM. “Between May 2009 and September 2011, during which time the team won eight of nine series (drawing the other) and went top of the Test rankings, Swann took 126 wickets – more than any other bowler in the world – before his 20 wickets in India in 2012 helped deliver England’s first series win there for 27 years.
“Not since the days of Derek Underwood had England possessed a spinner who could so consistently take wickets as well as contain, giving Andrew Strauss’ side the balance which was so integral to their success.”
The other Englishmen in the top 100 were Graeme Thorpe (35th), Andrew Flintoff (39th), Kevin Pietersen (49th), Sir Alastair Cook (53rd), Marcus Trescothick (55th), Ben Stokes (63rd), Jonathan Trott (67th), Michael Vaughan (73rd), and Mark Butcher (97th). James Anderson and Stuart Broad, England’s two leading wicket-takers in Test cricket, were each placed outside the top 100.
To read the feature in full, pick up a copy of the July edition of Wisden Cricket Monthly, available to buy in print and digital formats.