Ian Bell has hailed Joe Root as England’s greatest ever player after he joined the 10,000 club against New Zealand.
His 115* took him to 10,015, making him the 14th player in Test history to surpass 10,000 runs, with Alastair Cook’s 12,472 next in his sights. Ian Bell told bet365 the next major milestone may just be a matter of time.
“If he carries on the rate he’s going, he’ll do that relatively quickly,” said Bell. “The game does go in ebbs and flows and I’m sure he’ll go in and out of form like any player does, but how many is up to him really – how long he wants to play for, how many runs he wants to score is up to him.
“Longevity, touch wood, no injuries on the way, but it’ll be the drive and the hunger to play as long as he can. Can he get to Sachin Tendulkar? That’s the amazing question.”
Nobody has got near Tendulkar’s 15,921, set in 2013, but Bell believes even that landmark isn’t out of the question.
“I don’t think it’ll come down to physical, it’ll be mental,” he said. “That attitude, how long he wants to [play]. But the way he is at the moment, the drive he’s got, I see him playing for a long time for England. As this team builds and redevelops, I still think he’s a massive part of that. We saw that in the recent Test, England will win when he scores runs.
Bell also feels that Root’s performances over the last couple of years set him apart not just from his contemporaries, but all England players past and present.
“He’s now become England’s most complete player across the formats,” he said. “When you look at him compared to the big four, his numbers the last two years have been absolutely incredible.
“What an amazing job he’s done for England, in a tough Test match period. The numbers and the level he’s played at – as captain as well – it’s just incredible. He’s got the whole package, the mental side, the technical side, the ability to rotate strike.
“There’s nothing he hasn’t got, he’s the perfect model really. Right here, right now, he’s the best batsman in the world.
“I was lucky to play with some great players. Kevin Pietersen on his day was quite incredible, but consistency, across the game, across the formats, he’s England’s greatest ever player.”