Joe Root Follows Ben Stokes in Opting Out of 2024 IPL, Paving the Way for Strategic Franchise Moves

In a synchronized decision reminiscent of England Test captain Ben Stokes, Joe Root has chosen to skip the 2024 IPL season, citing the need to manage his workload and prioritize fitness.

Stokes had earlier made himself unavailable for the T20 tournament on November 23, making Root the latest English cricketer to withdraw from the lucrative event. Root, the 32-year-old Yorkshire batter, had a limited outing with the Rajasthan Royals in the previous season, featuring in three matches but getting a chance to bat only once.

Expressing full support for Root’s decision, Royals director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara stated, “We respect his decision totally and wish him success in everything he does.” Root, who recently inked a three-year central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), played a pivotal role in England’s recent World Cup campaign in India. The seasoned batsman is also slated to play a key role in England’s five-Test tour of India, commencing on January 25 in Hyderabad.

Rob Key, ECB managing director of men’s cricket, noted that the former captain required a “break,” especially after being left out of the limited-overs squad for the upcoming series against West Indies.

Root’s association with the Royals began at the 2023 mini-auction when the franchise secured him for £100,000. Despite a brief stint in the IPL, Root made a positive impact on the team, according to Sangakkara, who remarked, “Even in a short span of time, Joe was ready to make such a positive effect on the establishment and the players around him. His energy around the gathering and the experience he brought to the Royals will be remembered fondly.

Root’s absence adds an intriguing dimension to the Royals’ strategy for the upcoming IPL season, as the team will now be without both Root and Stokes, two pivotal players in their ranks. Root, with 11,416 Test runs at an impressive average of 50.29, stands on the brink of surpassing Sir Alastair Cook as England’s all-time leading scorer in Test cricket, needing just 1,057 more runs to achieve this milestone.

In parallel developments ahead of the IPL retention deadline on November 26, notable England players, including fast bowler Jofra Archer and batter Harry Brook, were released by their respective franchises. Archer, who faced challenges with injuries and missed the World Cup, played five games for Mumbai Indians in 2023, claiming two wickets. Sunrisers Hyderabad released Brook, who had a standout performance with a century against Kolkata Knight Riders but struggled in other innings, accumulating only 90 runs.

The upcoming IPL auction, scheduled for December 19 in Dubai, will witness the re-entry of released players, including Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan, and Phil Salt, into the auction pool. England white-ball captain Jos Buttler has been retained by the Rajasthan Royals, while other key players like Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Jason Roy, and Mark Wood will continue with their respective franchises

As the anticipation builds for the IPL auction, the dynamics of team compositions are set to shift, with Root’s absence creating additional strategic considerations for franchises aiming to build a competitive squad for the 2024 season.

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