With an eye on the ODI World Cup in India this year, former England Test skipper Joe Root is hoping to further fine-tune his 50-over skills by playing in domestic T20 leagues such as the ILT20 in the UAE.
While Root has played more than 150 ODIs, scoring 6,207 runs at an average of 50.05, he still feels leagues like the ILT20, beginning in Dubai on January 13, will give him the necessary versatility as England aims to retain the 50-over World Cup.
“I have a lot of experience in playing 50-over cricket now. I have got a good understanding of how to play in ODIs.
“I really want to develop my white-ball game further and if there is anything that I can add to my 50-over game, it will come from playing more T20 cricket and putting myself in situations I have not found myself frequently during the course of my career so far,” said Root, who will play for Dubai Capitals in ILT20.
While Root has been one of England’s most trusted top-order batters in Tests and ODIs, scoring runs aplenty, he has only played 32 T20Is, scoring 893 runs.
The 32-year-old went unsold in his first IPL auction (base price Rs 1 crore) this year at Kochi even as country-mate Sam Curran went for a record sum of Rs 18.25 crore and the current Test skipper Ben Stokes earned Rs 16.25 crore.
Indicating that he wants to get a good grip on the shortest format, given that all the money now is in domestic leagues, Root hoped he could score big in ILT20 and then take his T20 career further.
“It’s really exciting for me. I haven’t played a lot of T20 cricket in the last couple of years, but my experience as a cricketer will hold me in good stead,” said Root, who was not part of the team’s T20 World Cup run in 2021 and 2022, though he was a part of the side that won the ODI World Cup at Lord’s in 2019.
“Hopefully, I can go out there and get some big scores to help our team win some matches.” Root also said that Sachin Tendulkar was his icon and a “standout” for him while growing up.
“I mean obviously there are some wonderful players currently playing but look at what Sachin (Tendulkar) has achieved; it’s just remarkable really, the longevity, the ability to be such a high-performing player at such a young age, and then to be able to sustain and to keep developing and moving forward in the game,” Root told Zee.
“There have been times when he’s carried the weight of the pressure on his shoulders, and he did it for over 20 years. He made his debut before I was born and played in my debut, and it just shows how and what he was for Indian cricket for such a long period of time.
“Truly great at the game, someone that you know, along with many others. I was a kid and I was admiring the way he played, how easy it looked, and not only has he contributed to Indian cricket but also to world cricket. So yeah, definitely a standout for me as a kid growing.”