Joe Root says it's a 'difficult decision' to opt out of IPL

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England captain Joe Root. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
England captain Joe Root. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Joe Root on Friday said he remains "desperate" to play the Indian Premier League (IPL) but his commitment to England cricket remains top priority.

Root opted out of this year's IPL auctions scheduled on 18 February. Eight overseas players including Australia's Steve Smith got a top base price of $275 000.

"It was a very difficult decision," Root said on the eve of the second Test against India in Chennai starting Saturday.

"At some point in my career I am desperate to try and be a part of an IPL season and a few more beyond that. Something that I love to experience and love to be a part of."

Root, who has been kept out of England's Twenty20 squad for the upcoming five matches in India, has never played the cash-rich league. He was on the auction table in 2018 but went unsold.

Root, who scored 218 in his 100th Test as England won the opener on Tuesday, has been in blazing form after hitting match-winning scores of 228 and 186 in Sri Lanka Tests.

England have a minimum of 17 Tests to play this year and Root said he needed to prioritise those matches.

"With the amount of international cricket and Test cricket in particular this year, I didn't feel it was the right time to throw all my energy into it which I think it deserves," said Root.

"And I don't think it would set English cricket up best with what's to come. Hopefully next year there will be an opportunity to potentially be a part of the IPL or at least be in the auctions."

Australia's Smith and Glenn Maxwell, England's Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy and Mark Wood and Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan are in the top bracket along with India's Harbhajan Singh and Kedar Jadhav.

A total of 292 cricketers - 164 Indians, 125 overseas players and three from associate nations - will go under the hammer when the auction takes place in Chennai.

The 14th edition of the tournament is expected to be held in India starting April. The last season was played in the United Arab Emirates due to the rising coronavirus cases in India.

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