Geoffrey Boycott has hailed Joe Root and says the England Test captain is one of four current players who can surpass India legend Sachin Tendulkar.
Root overtook Boycott, Kevin Pietersen and David Gower to become England’s fourth-leading run-scorer of all time during the 2-0 series sweep in Sri Lanka.
The 30-year-old, who will become the 14th player to make 100 Test appearances for England in the first match against India on Friday, scored a double century and 186 against Sri Lanka.
Boycott believes Root can go on to play 200 matches for England and says he could even break Tendulkar’s record for the most Test runs scored.
India captain Virat Kohli, Australia star Steve Smith and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson are in the same boat, according to the former England batsman.
‘Forget just scoring more Test runs for England than David Gower, Kevin Pietersen and myself,’ Boycott wrote in a column for Telegraph Sport.
‘Joe Root has the potential to play 200 Tests and score more runs than even Sachin Tendulkar.
‘Root is only 30. He has played 99 Tests and scored 8,249 runs already. As long as he does not suffer serious injury there is no reason why he cannot beat Tendulkar’s all-time record of 15,921.
‘His contemporaries, such as Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson, are wonderful players as well who could also score that many runs.
‘We should enjoy Root and only judge him alongside those guys, not great names of the past because every player is a product of their environment.’
Before Root sets his sights on Tendulkar’s tally, he must first surpass Alec Stewart, Graham Gooch and Alastair Cook to become England’s most prolific run-scorer.
Michael Atherton, the former England captain, has backed Root to reach and go past Cook and says he is already one of the country’s best-ever players.
‘He’s racking up a fantastic career now and sometimes I think we’re blase about someone like Joe Root,’ Atherton told Sky Sports.
‘He’s 30 years of age, Graham Gooch’s best years came after the age of 36 – I’m not saying Joe Root will improve beyond 36; Ricky Ponting reckons you don’t improve beyond 33, but he’s got three years now until 33 so he could certainly reach a high plateau before then.
‘If you’re looking at Alastair Cook there, 12,000-plus Test runs, why can’t he go and challenge that record number of runs? He’s a young man still and he’s maybe got some of his best years ahead of him.
‘He looks driven and committed and of the players that I’ve seen for England – so I’m going back to the mid-to-late 1980s – if you said to me that I could take any of them, I’d take four: Gooch, Gower, Pietersen and Root, he is one of England’s best.’
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