Joe Root says Test team were ‘hampered’ by this season’s domestic calendar


England captain Joe Root has called for the needs of the Test side to be placed at the heart of the domestic schedule, revealing he felt “hampered” by this year’s fixture list.

The England and Wales Cricket Board released details of next summer’s men’s internationals on Wednesday, topped and tailed by Test series against New Zealand and South Africa, with 12 white-ball matches packed into the month of July.

There was also confirmation that Vitality Blast final days would be staged on July 18, having been pushed back to September 18 this year, but a wider consultation will take place within the game before decisions are made over county cricket and the second season of The Hundred.

Joe Root played for Trent Rockets in the inaugural Hundred season
Joe Root played for Trent Rockets in the inaugural Hundred season (Tim Goode/PA)

It is largely accepted that the 2021 model needs to be refined, particularly given the lack of first-class matches running in sync with England’s red-ball commitments.

When the Test side were looking for reinforcements due to injury and lack of form this season, the LV= Insurance County Championship was on hiatus when it could have been throwing up contenders.

Speaking on the eve of the final Test against India, Root used his platform to call on organisers to place red-ball cricket at the forefront of their thinking.

“I don’t think I’ll be privy to those conversations, but it would be nice to see it seriously considered as a priority within that scheduling,” he said.

“Look at how this summer has gone and how we’ve been hampered – whether it be through injury and in terms of our preparation. We’ve been told that Test cricket is a priority in this country and I think that should feed into the county game as well.

“Hopefully, that is paramount and something that is seriously considered for next year along with some other very important pieces in the domestic structure.”

Root’s side will begin with a three-match series against reigning world Test champions New Zealand, who beat England 1-0 this summer, comprising games at Lord’s (June 2-6), Trent Bridge (June 10-14) and Headingley (June 23-27).

The Proteas, making a full trip to these shores for the first time since 2017, will play all three formats culminating in Tests at Lord’s, Edgbaston and the Kia Oval, which resumes its role as the last staging post of the summer. Those games begin on August 17 and conclude on September 12.

Eoin Morgan’s limited-overs side will play all of their matches in a tight block throughout July. There will be three Twenty20s and three one-day internationals against both India and South Africa.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “It has been a scintillating summer of cricket and so good to see crowds back packing out venues later this summer.

“For next summer, I am pleased to be able to confirm three high-quality men’s international touring teams for 2022.”