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Joe Root's grandfather hits out at the Hundred after England Test shortcomings

New tournament 'as welcome' as Covid, says Don Root in letter to cricket magazine

George Dobell
George Dobell
Joe Root with his grandfather Don, father Matt and brother Billy at Sheffield Collegiate CC  •  Getty Images

Joe Root with his grandfather Don, father Matt and brother Billy at Sheffield Collegiate CC  •  Getty Images

The ECB may have hailed the first season of the Hundred as a great success but it has left some of those close to England's Test captain underwhelmed.
Certainly Don Root, the paternal grandfather of England's Test captain, Joe, is unimpressed. In a letter to The Cricketer magazine, which is published today, Root senior describes the new tournament in unflattering terms.
Suggesting it is "as welcome" as Covid-19, he claims it has already had a negative impact on England's Test team and warns about what he feels is an imbalance between red- and white-ball cricket at present.
"The Hundred is among us," Don wrote. "So is Covid and it's just about as welcome.
"We are constantly being lectured about the necessity to attract more funding to spread the gospel and nourish the grassroots of cricket. Apparently this can only be done by an increase in some form of the white-ball version of the game.
"At what cost to the red-ball version? Onwards and downwards would appear to be the new ECB mantra. The results of this policy can be seen in the Test series.
"Of course every sport needs sound financial resourcing, but do we have the balance right at the moment between financial needs and performance on the field? As far as red-ball cricket is concerned, I think not."
Going into the postponed fifth and final match of England's Test series against India, Joe Root was a notable exception to his team's overall standards. He had amassed 564 runs at 94.00 for the series with each of England's three hundreds, almost three times as many runs as any of his team-mates. He has also scored six of England's seven hundreds in 2021, for a total of 1455 runs at 66.13 in 12 Tests.
It is currently unclear whether Joe had any knowledge of the letter ahead of publication. But he has often referenced his grandfather's support in his formative years as a key ingredient in his success and the pair remain close. Don was, until the outbreak of Covid, a regular presence at England games.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo