What's the story?
In the past, major England players appeared to be hesitant to embrace the Indian Premier League (IPL). However, things have changed drastically in recent times as plenty of their big names are now getting to experience the popular Twenty20 tournament. Joining the fray will be Test skipper and key limited-overs batsman Joe Root. The 27-year old has explained his thought-process behind entering the 2018 IPL auction.
Root affirmed, "One thing I've been very aware of for the past two years is the lack of T20 cricket. When that World Cup does come around in a couple of years' time, this is probably the best window of opportunity for me to develop that white-ball side of my game. As someone involved in the Test side I don't want to be missing white ball cricket and falling behind, trying to catch up."
"I think the IPL is a great opportunity. It may be that I don't have a great IPL but the best thing would be the exposure to different players and different ways of looking at the game, being under pressure for long periods of time. I can't see how that could hamper my game or be detrimental to my England career. I spent a good four or five months making that decision, that's where my head is at. Hopefully we'll see the benefits in a couple of years' time."
As many as 1122 players from various countries have put forth their names for the mega IPL auction. Root is one of the marquee players who have caught the eye. Entering the IPL auction for the first time in his career, he has set his base price at INR 1.5 crore.
The heart of the matter
Since making his international debut during December 2012, Root has grown from strength to strength and established himself as one of the premier batsmen in the modern game. Even though he could have been a star attraction in the tournament, ECB's profound protection of its assets prevented the Yorkshireman from playing in previous editions of the IPL.
However, a spate of underwhelming performances in major ICC tournaments forced ECB to change its rigid stance towards white-ball cricket. When former skipper Andrew Strauss took over as Director of England cricket, the management decided to encourage their leading players to gain exposure by participating in various T20 leagues across the globe.
The likes of Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Jason Roy are some of the front-line England cricketers to play in the preceding seasons of the IPL. Upon entering the 2018 auction, Root could be one of the most highly sought after players from the overseas bracket.
IPL's Governing Council has sent the preliminary list of 1122 players to all participating franchises. When the various teams submit their preferences, the list will be trimmed further by the end of this week. The auction is scheduled to take place on January 27 and 28 in Bengaluru.
Although his stocks may have recently taken a significant hit owing to England's catastrophic Ashes campaign, Root remains their best batsman across all three formats of the game. His decision to enter the IPL auction indicates an earnest ambition to raise his white-ball game to the next level.