England Test captain Joe Root on Friday (February 12) said skipping the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) auction for a third successive year was a ‘very difficult decision’ and he made the call considering the national team’s packed schedule this year. The IPL auction is scheduled on February 18 in Chennai with a total of 292 players set to go under the hammer including Root's compatriots Moeen Ali, Jason Roy and Mark Wood.
“It’s a very difficult decision. I am desperate to be part of an IPL season and hopefully a few more beyond,” Root, who scored a match-winning 218 to lead England to a massive 227-run victory in the series opener, said during a virtual media conference.
One up in the four-match series, England are in contention for the only available spot for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final at the Lord’s from June 18-22. England know that two more wins in their remaining three Tests in India will see them qualify for the WTC final against New Zealand.
Root and Co will take on Kiwis in a two-Test series at home before the coveted five Tests Ashes against Australia series Down Under. They also host India for five Tests starting August.
“With the amount of Test cricket in particular this year, didn’t feel like it was the right time, didn't feel like I could throw all my energy into it, which I think it deserves.
“I don't think it would serve English cricket best with what's to come... So, a very difficult decision. Hopefully next year, there’s more of an opportunity to potentially be a part of the IPL, or at least be in the auction.”
Taking about the second Test, Root said he is well aware of the challenge his team faces despite winning the series opener convincingly.
“It certainly provides a stern challenge but it’s not going to be as not as tough as being 1-0 down. We are in a really good position. We played brilliant cricket and will take a lot of confidence forward into this week. But we won't get ahead of ourselves.
“I think we’re very understanding of how much hard work, it’s going to take to win in these conditions we see that first hand in the last week... So, we know what it's going to require with that challenge... Excited.”
India skipper Virat Kohli top-scored for India in their second innings of the first Test with a sublime 72-run. England have their plans in place for Kohli but Root said he is bound to score runs at some point in the series.
“In the first innings of the first Test, Bessy (Dom Bess) produced a brilliant delivery to get rid of him. We have to keep delivering our best balls time and again and try and build pressure on him. We know he is one of the world's best players and desperate to prove a point this week.”