England’s Test captain Root has never been picked up by an IPL franchise and has not entered the auction since going unsold in 2018. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is yet to confirm the centrally-contracted players’ availability for the 2022 edition. And, with England’s first Test against New Zealand starting on June 2, Root would likely be required to leave the IPL before the knockout stages if he becomes part of the cash-rich league.
The England skipper hasn’t made a final decision and said that he would only do so if taking part in IPL does not detract from his Test commitment.
“I have not made a decision on the IPL just yet. It is something I will have to keep wrestling with. Time is ticking but I have a lot to weigh up. The thing I will weigh up is: will it have a negative impact on me playing Test cricket for this team? If I don’t think it will, then I will put myself in that position to play and put myself in the auction,” Root was quoted as saying by Espncricinfo.
“But I will never compromise or do anything that will detract from playing Test cricket for England. It is so important to make sure that is the priority for me and other players as well,” he added.
The 31-year old has not played a T20I since May 2019 and his England commitments in Test and ODI cricket have limited his availability for domestic T20 cricket. He featured only in six matches in the T20 Blast between 2013 and 2019, and had a quiet short-form season in 2021, making 97 runs across six games for Yorkshire and Trent Rockets.
So, it will be interesting to see whether Root would get a deal or not if he puts his name forward.
On the other hand, Mark Wood has taken part in the IPL before as he played for Chennai Super Kings in 2018. But, he withdrew from last year’s auction at the 11th hour in order to spend time with his young family.
Overseas fast bowlers have been valuable assets for IPL franchises in recent years and got hefty deals in auctions. So, Wood is more likely to pick up a contract.
The pacer feels that the chance to improve as a T20 bowler ahead of another World Cup in Australia next year is far more important for him than any prospective financial rewards in the auction.
“If I look ahead to the World Cup and I can learn something in the IPL, if I can put myself in pressure situations and try and get better for the end of the year, that’ll be good. We’ve a really good one-day team and this could be our time to really win things. That’s a burning desire,” said Wood.
“From a financial side of things, it’s great to go in, but actually the reason is cricketing, because of what’s to come with England. I just felt the reason I’d have gone last year was purely financial; this year, it would be about trying to improve and put myself in those pressure situations for later.
“We’ve seen the benefits to other fast bowlers. I was watching [Anrich] Nortje do well there. When we played in the T20 competition [World Cup], he looked really good because he’s had that experience. If I can move my game forward that would be brilliant,” he added.
Moeen Ali (Chennai Super Kings) and Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals) were the two England players retained by their franchises for the 2022 season, with many of their other leading white-ball players set to enter the mega auction in Bengaluru next month.