Joe Root’s importance to England was confirmed Thursday when he was named as one of a select group of four players given both red and white-ball deals as part of a new-look central contract system.
Players have been split into Test and one-day groups although four players — star batsman Root and all-rounders Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali — have been included in both sections.
England have never won a major 50-over global tournament, with the last of their three losing finals appearances in the World Cup back in 1992.
Last year’s tournament saw England suffer an embarrassing first-round exit at the hands of outsiders Bangladesh, a defeat that proved the catalyst for a re-think by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over the team’s approach to one-day cricket.
But the past 12 months have seen an upsurge in the team’s white-ball form, something all the more welcome for England given they are set to host both next year’s Champions Trophy and the 2019 World Cup.
“We believe the restructure of the central contract system will recognise the increased focus of the shorter format and the importance that we place on this as we continue our progress towards hosting the 2019 World Cup,” said ECB director Andrew Strauss.
“Ultimately, we are fully committed to developing world-class players in both red and white-ball cricket to aid the goal of becoming the world’s number one team,” the former England captain added.
Jos Buttler, England’s stand-in skipper for the one-day leg of their upcoming tour of Bangladesh, told Sky Sports: “It’s fantastic. The way we’ve been playing over the last 18 months has got people talking about the one-day side.
“We’re turning heads in the right way. We’re looking forward to the Champions Trophy as something that is in everyone’s mind to push towards and if we want to win that we’ve got to be one of the top sides in the world. These central contracts will help.”