Joe Root will be playing in an overseas T20 league for the first time in his career after BBL outfit Sydney Thunder announced that they had signed the England captain ahead of the 2018-19 edition of the tournament. Root will be joined at the Spotless Stadium by compatriot Jos Buttler, who had a fantastic season with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL earlier this season and scored a century in the recently concluded third test against India at Trent Bridge.
Root went unsold during the Indian Premier League auction in January earlier this year. His peers- Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, have however been regulars in the tournament. Root, watching from home, has seen them light up the world’s richest T20 league in front of packed crowds in India along with the likes of Buttler and Ben Stokes, who have also enjoyed great success in the competition.
This will be Buttler’s third stint at the BBL- apart from last season’s stint with the Thunder, he had previously represented the Melbourne Renegades in 2013-14.
Both Buttler and Root are expected to be key players for the upcoming fourth test against India at the Ageas Bowl, which is shaping up to be an important one in the context of the tour, with the hosts leading 2-1 going into it. The visitors, as seen on Crickonomics, have called up World Cup winning youngster Prithvi Shaw at the expense of the out of form Murali Vijay, who netted a pair on his last appearance in this series.
While Root remains an integral part of England’s test future, his fortunes in the T20 version have dipped. He was dropped for the final game against India- a sign that he may not be as indispensable in the shortest format of the game as may have once thought to be.
England’s tour of Sri Lanka ends in the fourth week of November. There is a break before their tour of the West Indies in January next year, leaving a nice gap that could allow Root to play as many as seven games in the first half of the Big Bash season, which runs for two months beginning 18 December.
Sydney Thunder finished a disappointing sixth in the 2017/18 edition of the BBL, winning only four of their 10 games in the competition. They are currently coached by former New Zealand pace great Shane Bond.