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Joe Root laments IPL rejection and calls for playing schedule overhaul



Yorkshireman urges ‘making it easier to play all three formats’

England likely to be unchanged for fourth ODI against New Zealand

Joe Root has spoken for the first time about his disappointment after going unsold in the Indian Premier League auction in January.

Five days after announcing he would miss the Trans-Tasman Twenty20 tri-series owing to the insistence of England’s head coach, Trevor Bayliss, that he rest, he was one of only two marquee players not to be purchased by IPL franchises – South Africa’s Hashim Amla was the other.

The rejection hurt the England Test captain and, while pragmatic, he realises it comes at the detriment of his improvement as a T20 player, given he is unrelenting in his desire to turn out in all three formats of the game.

“I was disappointed,” Root said. “The reason I wanted to go out there was to play more Twenty20 cricket; it wasn’t to go and earn as much money as possible. I’m not in that position.

“For me, I wasn’t going to fit into any one of those [IPL] teams. There’s not really much you can do. It was disappointing but it’s also very understandable. Sides have a clear idea of what they want their makeup of their team to look like and they build around that.

“You’ve just got to get on with the rest of the cricket I can play. It gives me a really good period to make sure everything is set for the start of the Test season back at home but it would have been really nice to have had the experience and everything that the IPL brings to the table.”

When asked what he could do to make himself more appealing to franchises, he said: “It’s hard to do that without playing.” Since the 2016 World T20 he has played only five of England’s 13 T20 internationals: four of those were defeats. Even his time with the Yorkshire Vikings has been scarce, making three T20 Blast appearances in the past two summers.

“It’s completely out of my control. The amount of Twenty20 cricket I’m available to play at the moment is minimal and there’s a World T20 in a couple of years’ time. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get some good experience in a fantastic tournament.”

His situation is different to that of Alex Hales and Adil Rashid, who have taken short-term moves to focus solely on limited-overs cricket. But he empathises with their decisions as he also rages against a schedule that is asking too much of players. The decision to miss the Trans-Tasman tri-series was taken in light of a schedule that includes nine Tests between now and the end of September, then tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies and a 2019 summer featuring the 50-over World Cup and an Ashes series

“There’s a deeper issue that needs sorting out in terms of making it easier to play all three formats and making sure there is an opportunity for guys to go and play in tournaments around the world and still be able to play red‑ball cricket. To criticise the players is wrong. You’ve got to make it more attractive to go and play red-ball cricket somehow.”

England are likely to be unchanged for the fourth ODI, trusting the XI that earned the four-run win in Wellington to try to secure the series in Dunedin. New Zealand, though, will fancy their chances of bringing it back to 2-2, with Ross Taylor, who hit a century in the first ODI against England, expected to return from his quadriceps injury to bolster an inexperienced middle order. The Black Caps will also be looking to make full use of home advantage. They have won all of their six ODIs at University Oval.

The Lancashire batsman Liam Livingstone has been passed fit for England’s two-Test tour of New Zealand. Livingstone suffered a left ankle injury last month on England Lions duty and returned home to recover.

The 24-year-old, in the Test squad for the first time, trained with senior players Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad on grass pitches inside a marquee at Edgbaston, coming through a rigorous net session on Sunday. He will arrive in Hamilton, with the other Test specialists, on Friday to start preparations for the first Test against in Auckland on 22 March.

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