England’s Test captain, Joe Root blames the system, not players, for the emerging trend for specialization which has rooted the likes of Adil Rashid and Alex Hales to accept the contracts of only white-ball county cricket.
But according to Root, there is still a future for those players to give a boost to the fortunes of Test squad of England, as the authorities of the game can make way to rebuild the global schedule to allow all of three formats to co-exist smoothly.
Earlier this month, both Rashid and Hales confirmed not to turn out for Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire respectively in the County Championship this year, putting their Test cricket on hazy hold. Rashid was ignored for Ashes team despite being the top wicket-taker for England in Bangladesh and India last winter. He said that he lost the buzz to play red-ball cricket this week.
Root had to sit out of T20 side for England these months to balance his own preference in 50-over cricket and Test. He feels that the existing international cricket trends need players to stand out in shorter cricket formats. Making impact in white-ball cricket shouldn’t be overlooked.
Root added Sky Sports, “Players like Rashid and Alex have future in Test cricket, though they have been pigeon-holed as 5-day cricket specialists. See how the game has changed over the past five years – with rates of scoring and things you have to do with ball these days – the skills you should have, most of these have been rooted from Test cricket.
I believe that cross-over can be there if guys are determined and have faith to play white-ball cricket. If you are good to Test, there is no point to adjust yourself to red-ball cricket. It is all about what you want and desire and to have enough chances to play red-ball cricket in county matches and around the world to develop.”
For any elite cricketer, there is far less opportunity these days to grow in all three formats at the same time and India’s captain Virat Kohli may have exception which proves the rule.
For instance, Australia’s Steve Smith met Root in missing recent tri-series due to the busy winter when his Test form called on the comparison to Donald Bradman. Now, he is trying hard to regain his pace among the specialists who took that kind of competition by storm.
Root added about the urge to fit in white-ball cricket, “It is not that simple to keep guys doing that. You cannot blame on players, there is issue on higher side and I believe schedules will need to be changed and tempered with a bit.”