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“While everyone is right to marvel at Root’s post-captaincy step-up into the frankly ridiculous,’ says Robert Wilson, “and his spooky habit of getting into the mid-forties before you’ve even noticed that he’s there, it’s making me wistful about Graham Thorpe. While not having Root’s full batting vocabulary, Thorpe also tended to be in the twenties or mid-thirties by some magical sleight of hand. And all this in a much darker era of pain, fear and despond. They’re like those blokes whose fates were decided by being born ten or fifteen years apart last century. Thorpe ends up at the Somme and Ypres without playing a front foot shot in a decade and Root, for all his travails, laughs it up through the Roaring Twenties with F Scott Fitzgerald and Louise Brooks. They would have been incredible together. And I hope poor Thorpey, sadly ill, pulls through and gets better.”
Agreed. Paul Collingwood MBE was also one of those, more in the Thorpey mode but also able to manipulate the ball and somehow accumulate without apparently accumulating.