Apart from the pride of winning a series in the subcontinent, usually teams around the world find extra motivation to perform well against India in a T20 series. For, if you do well, it could help you earn a break in the biggest market for cricket players — the Indian Premier League.
This time, it’s been kind of a perfect opportunity for England players. With the 2017 IPL auction date expected to be announced anytime soon, the three-game T20 series against India has provided the England players an ideal stage to impress the IPL buyers.
Only two from England
To their credit, the England players have indeed created a buzz with their showing in the first two games and the one-day series. From the IPL teams’ point of view too, they are following the performance of the England players with interest. It’s an untapped market with just two players in the current squad with IPL contracts – Jos Buttler is with Mumbai Indians and Sam Billings with Delhi Daredevils.
Captain Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan have been released by Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore, respectively. Given how Morgan has performed in both the one-dayers and the T20s, he should be in demand.
Asked if the England players have got them excited, a Sunrisers Hyderabad official stated: “There are a lot of good guys there — Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Morgan himself, are all doing well. We have to see ECB’s plans, if they will allow these players and for how long?”
“This IPL auction would be dull without the England players,” said a senior official of the Delhi Daredevils team.
Also, in the last year, England have become a dynamic limited overs unit, which has been underlined in the ongoing series.
In the T20 series, Joe Root is the top rungetter with 84 runs in two outings and has a strike rate of 100, Morgan is at No 3 (strike-rate 111.47) and Stokes has made runs at a SR of 125. Roy averaged 73.33 in the ODIs with a SR of 115.78.
However, the franchisees would be more impressed with their bowling. Moeen Ali has been outstanding in both the T20 games, while pacers Jordan, Stokes and Tymal Mills have stifled the batsmen with their changes of pace and variations in line and length.
For those still to fire, a big performance in Wednesday’s decider at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium could well seal the deal.
The reason we have not seen many England players in the IPL is because the England and Wales Cricket Board has been reluctant to release their cricketers for the full length of the tournament played from April to May. However, former captain Andrew Strauss, now ECB’s head of cricket operations, is more open to the idea of allowing his players the IPL experience. However, he faces a tricky situation because England’s priority this season is the Champions Trophy at home and the IPL will clash with their short limited series against Ireland.
Asked on the eve of the game, about whether he feels the England players have made an impact to be hot property in the IPL auction, Root said: “I do think our players have made an impact, more so for the important summer ahead.
“They’re making sure they’re doing everything to put themselves in the right position come the Champions Trophy selection. I’m sure the guys entering the auction will be desperate to make their mark in India and show the people here what they can do.”
Speaking earlier during the one-day series, Buttler had also given a thumbs-up to the IPL: “It’s [the IPL] is the best cricket experience I’ve ever had. From my point of view, it would be great if more English guys were involved and experiencing playing in these conditions and in front of these crowds with the pressure of being an overseas player.”