Joe Root has been given the ‘royal’ seal of approval as he bids to balance a career at the top of international cricket with improvement as a T20 player.
Brian Lara, nicknamed the Prince, recently told yorkshireccc.com that the White Rose star is, alongside Virat Kohli, an example he would have followed if he had been a young player thrown into the modern cricketing environment.
Looking at all the mega rich T20 leagues cropping up around the world nowadays makes you wonder how much someone like the legendary West Indian would have made had he been a batsman in his prime.
But Lara insists international cricket should remain king and has backed Root’s path ahead of his first taste of a foreign league at the Big Bash later this year.
Lara, who only played three T20 matches in late 2010 before retirement, was speaking at the recent Abu Dhabi T20 competition, where he was part of a star-studded TV commentary team alongside Mahela Jayawardena, Waqar Younis and Brad Hogg.
Root, currently in Sri Lanka with England, will play for Sydney Thunder in seven BBL games in the gap between the end of the Sri Lanka tour and the trip to the West Indies in January. He will play alongside Jos Buttler.
Lara said: “I think it’s great (all the T20 leagues), but in terms of preserving the importance of playing for your country, I think there’s one little issue with that – the younger players who want to concentrate on getting an IPL contract or a Big Bash contract.
“Maybe there should be a stipulation where you have to represent your country so many times before you go out ‘open market’.
“I know a few players where if you offered them an IPL contract tomorrow or playing for the West Indies, they are most likely going to take the IPL contract because maybe there’s more money or more excitement.
“That’s the only thing I feel should be stemmed, something should be done.
“Getting into the leagues and making a living, I can understand that.
“But I still believe that playing for your country must be the biggest thing. It should be the dream of every youngster.
“If I was young again, I would love to be a Virat Kohli or a Joe Root where you are playing all forms of the game for your country and are available to play franchise cricket when time allows.
“That’s the sort of cricketer I’d want to be, not just exclusively to one.
“If there’s a Test Match or a one-day international for the West Indies, I‘m available. Then, in my free time, I would go to the IPL or somewhere like that.
“If I was playing cricket at this time, that would be my modus operandi.”