Many were surprised when England Test skipper Joe Root remained ‘unsold’ in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 auction. Franchises were looking to form a core group during that period, and Root is not only a good batsman but a shrewd tactician too. The English batsman scored a century against Sri Lanka in the second Test which was appreciated by former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly and more.
Ganguly lauded Root’s hundred that rescued his team on a wicket that was turning square. He also tagged Parth Jindal in his tweet who has stakes in IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils (DD).
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) November 16, 2018
Currently, DD are without an experienced captain. Their move to bring two-time IPL-winning captain Gautam Gambhir back to the side backfired to an extent that he was sacked and was not picked in the playing XI after 6 matches. Shreyas Iyer led the team for the rest of the season but that did not improve their chances.
Ahead of IPL 2019, Delhi have released Gambhir. The franchise released overseas batsmen Jason Roy and Glenn Maxwell as well. Also, they lack an experienced batsman in the middle overs. Root is the perfect fit for a batsman who can anchor the innings and switch gears towards the end.
For those who think the 27-year-old will not be effective on Indian pitches, they need to look at his T20I statistics. He has played 10 T20Is in India and scored 375 runs at an average of 53.57 and a strike rate of 128.86. This also includes two half-centuries. He is yet to register a single digit score in Indian conditions. His batting average increases drastically from his career T20I average, 35.77.
Could Root be the captain Delhi’s looking for? His overall strike rate of 127.68 in T20s might not be as impressive as someone like a Rishabh Pant or a Glenn Maxwell. But he is consistent and can adapt to conditions quicker than most. His match-winning 83 in a high-scoring chase is an example of that:
At a base price of Rs 1.5 crore, Root may just prove to be the ingredient Delhi have been missing for 11 seasons. With Ganguly’s cue, we might see DD going all out for Root in IPL 2019 auction with Rs 25.50 crore in their bag.