England warms up to IPL, franchises reciprocate

By, Kochi
Dec 24, 2022 08:45 PM IST

₹58.1 crore were spent on eight England players in Kochi

England’s white-ball domination was a theme in the Indian Premier League (IPL) mini-auction on Friday. Fifteen England players found teams for IPL 2023 making it their biggest-ever contingent. England and South Africa will also have the second biggest representation in IPL after India. Eight English players, including Test captain Ben Stokes, found teams in Kochi.

Chennai Super Kings won an equally wild bidding war for Stokes buying him for <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>16.25 crore. (AP) PREMIUM
Chennai Super Kings won an equally wild bidding war for Stokes buying him for 16.25 crore. (AP)

The biggest story of the day was 24-year-old Sam Curran who with 18.5 crore became the most expensive player in IPL history. Seven franchises pushed paddles for the all-rounder. Some, like Royal Challengers Bangalore, did not have enough money but tried nonetheless. Others like Sunrisers Hyderabad knew deep in the bidding that they would lose out but stayed in the mix. This competition pushed Curran’s bid past the $2 million mark. That is a team’s salary purse in some T20 leagues.

Chennai Super Kings won an equally wild bidding war for Stokes buying him for 16.25 crore.

It was Harry Brook who set the ball rolling; the 23-year-old coming in the first set and being bought for 13.25 crore by Sunrisers Hyderabad.

A total of 48 crore went on three English players and 58.1 crore out of 206 crore on offer was spent on eight England players.

“How a team is playing in international cricket makes a difference,” said Ashish Nehra, head coach of Gujarat Titans.

“England has won the ODI World Cup and the T20 World Cup. The franchises don’t look at whether the player is English, Australian, or South African. They want to pick the best players. With the quality of England’s players performances, I am not surprised at all that teams have gone for them.”

Among other England players, leg-spinner Adil Rashid was taken by Sunrisers and stroke-maker Phil Salt by Delhi Capitals for 2 crore each; big-hitting all-rounder Will Jacks and left-arm seamer Reece Topley went to Royal Challengers Bangalore for 1.5 crore and 1.9 crore. Joe Root too found a taker in Rajasthan Royals.

This is a big shift from when England’s cricket board would admonish players such as Kevin Pietersen for preferring IPL to international cricket. Eoin Morgan, who masterminded the 2019 ODI World Cup, has said the experience of IPL helped improve England’s white-ball game.

Only a dozen from WI

South Africa did not dominate the auction but 11 players had been retained. Some of it is down to six IPL franchises owning teams in the upcoming South African league SA20 and looking for continuity.

Like England, Australia will have a fair representation in the IPL with 13 players in 10 teams. The clincher for English and Australians has been their cricket boards making players available for the full league despite its proximity to the Ashes.

With West Indies slipping, their presence will be down from 17 to 12 this year. From being millionaires, a lot of players became bargain buys at the auction. Nicolas Pooran’s 16-crore story was different because his wicket-keeping skills complement hard hitting ability.

Like every year, nine New Zealand players will be in the league thanks to their board again making them available for the full league.

Among new nations, Namibia’s experienced David Wiese and Ireland’s Joshua Little found teams. Bidding for Little was frenzied before Gujarat Titans won him for 4.4 crore as he offered a left-arm seam variety to the mix.

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    Rasesh Mandani loves a straight drive. He has been covering cricket, the governance and business side of sport for close to two decades. He writes and video blogs for HT.

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