Joe Root has signed his first ever overseas Twenty20 contract, in an attempt to save his faltering career in the shortest format. The England Test captain will play for the Sydney Thunder in this winter’s Big Bash competition, along with his England team-mate Jos Buttler.
For Root, who has always put his international commitments first but is also acutely and increasingly aware of the gulf beginning to open up between himself and the world’s leading T20 batsmen, it is recognition of one of the few flaws in his game that needs addressing.
England Test captain Root has an international T20 average of 35.77 which includes an unbeaten 90 against the West Indies earlier this year. The 27-year old has been named in the ICC Test Team of the Year on three occasions and the ODI Team of the Year once.
Everyone you speak to that has played in the Big Bash finds it a really interesting tournament and watching it you can see that, said Root.
“You want to be involved in it and I’m really excited to get that opportunity with Sydney Thunder. I’ve had some really good experiences with Shane Bond in the past when I’ve worked with him and I’m really looking forward to doing that again.”
He has never scored a T20 century, and was dropped England’s side to play India earlier this summer. The decision surprised and disappointed Root, but given he had not played a single game of domestic T20 in almost two years, there could have been few complaints.
Joe Root was unsold in this year’s IPL auction.
His lack of T20 pedigree was also a factor in the fact that he went unsold in this year’s Indian Premier League auction, and with a World T20 coming up in 2020, Root has decided that he needs more game time in the shortest format to keep up with the latest trends in the game and make himself more attractive to IPL franchises.
Root and Buttler will both play the first half of the Big Bash season, joining up with the Thunder in November after England’s Test tour of Sri Lanka, and breaking off in January to join England’s tour of the West Indies.
For Root, it will be a chance to reunite with coach Shane Bond, with whom he worked extensively in advance of last winter’s Ashes series on tactics and bowling plans. For Buttler, it will be his second season with the Thunder, and his third season in all, having signed for Melbourne Renegades in 2013-14.