'It's quite easy, really' - Root dispels questions raised on IPL stint in Ashes build-up
The sight of Joe Root dancing on reels with Yuzvendra Chahal, being part of memes while warming the bench for the first ten games of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) may have hurt the England fans, worried that their leading batter could enter the Ashes 2023 heavily underprepared.
But the Rajasthan Royals (RR) cricketer believes he has made his time with the franchise count by gathering insights on developing his T20 game and the nature of the conditions in India prior to the 2023 World Cup.
The modern-day giant stood firm in his defence against the question marks raised in the English cricket fraternity on his first-ever IPL stint ahead of the marquee clash for the prestigious urn against arch-rivals Australia.
While the traditional voices believe Joe Root should be fine-tuning his red-ball game with few early-summer County Championship games, the former English captain reckons weather conditions in May would anyway have not allowed him to prepare correctly as he also looks to sharpen his limited-overs arsenal on Indian surfaces ahead of the World Cup.
Joe Root eyeing long-term benefits with Royals stint
Even though there remains no substitute for quality red-ball practice, Joe Root said the opportunity to spend time in the Royals camp at the age of 32 with the intention to grow as a limited-overs cricketer ahead of the next ICC event was too good for him to let go.
The experienced cricketer and England's Test batting linchpin also threw light on persistent rains in the UK in April-May to insist his call to stay put with the Royals was a wise one, taken in the best interest of his future ambitions with the England side.
"It's quite easy, really," Root told ESPNcricinfo in response to questions raised on his Royals stint ahead of the Ashes summer. "I'll start by saying I love playing for Yorkshire, and I love the County Championship. It's the bedrock of our game back in the UK and it's so influential in developing players."
"But for where I am within my game and my development, having an experience like this for the first time at 32 years old, I feel that's going to benefit me more in the long run than playing four Championship games where I might not learn too much about myself. Look at the fixtures: one of them's already been rained out, one was a rain-affected game and ended up a draw."
"Is that really going to ready me for an Ashes series?" he asked. "Or, by having these experiences here in India six months out from the World Cup, in these conditions, speaking to all these players, trying to learn as much as I can - mainly about T20 cricket, but also having good, strong conversations about the game in general - are they going to make me a better player? I think so."
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Root has played just three games and batted only once - making 10 off 15 balls - for a Royals side where Shimron Hetmyer, Jos Buttler, Trent Boult, Jason Holder and Adam Zampa have enjoyed first-choice preference to fill the overseas quota.
That, alongside the fact that the batter hasn't played any first-class cricket since February, has only sharpened the knives on his IPL gig, especially as the first Ashes Test is scheduled in just over two weeks after his final Royals game.