SPO_221222 JOE ROOT-1671727484101
England's Joe Root is eager to develop his game in the shortest format and has been roped in by Dubai Capitals. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Former England Test captain Joe Root has been signed by the Dubai Capitals team to play in the International League T20, the franchise announced on Thursday.

Root will be making his only second appearance in the international league. Root, England’s leading Test batter, has not played in a T20I since 2019, but he has made no secret of his desire to continue developing his game in the shortest format. He is on the list for Friday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) auction.

Root is still an important part of England’s ODI squad, but he has been given some time off before the Test team’s tour of New Zealand in February.

Anchor role

He confirmed his participation in the upcoming IPL auction last month, after going unsold in 2018. Root’s T20 opportunities have been limited in recent years, in part due to the demands of his Test captaincy, which he held between 2017 and 2022, with only a BBL stint with Sydney Sixers in 2018-19 to go along with occasional Hundred appearances for Yorkshire and Trent Rockets.

Root fell out of contention due to the rise of Dawid Malan, who plays a similar anchor role in the top order and helped England reach the World T20 final in 2016, scoring an audacious 83 off 44 in a record run chase against South Africa during the group stage. His most recent T20I was against Pakistan in Cardiff ahead of the 2019 50-over World Cup.

Indian stars in team

The Dubai Capitals announced earlier this week that they had signed former India internationals Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan, as well as current players Rovman Powell, Fabian Allen, and Sikandar Raza, as well as another Englishman in Dan Lawrence.

Making its debut in January 2023, the inaugural ILT20, which has received multi-year ICC approval, will be played in a 34-match format across the UAE’s exemplary, world-class Cricket facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Franchise teams, comprising 84 International and 24 UAE-based players, include Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (Kolkata Knight Riders), Desert Vipers (Lancer Capital), Dubai Capitals (GMR), Gulf Giants (Adani Sportsline), MI Emirates (Reliance Industries), and Sharjah Warriors (Capri Global).