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Indian Premier League

Seven England players you forgot played in the IPL

IPL England Unknowns
by Josef Rindl 8 minute read

These days it seems like every IPL franchise has an England international producing a match-winning performance every other round.

But back in the early days of the Indian Premier League, clashing schedules and international duties prevented many of England’s stars competing in the fledgling tournament.

But as most stayed away in 2008 and 2009, a few Englishmen did try their hand in the southern hemisphere to varying levels of success. So we’ve done the research and picked out seven England players you might be surprised to hear that they appeared in the IPL.

Owais Shah

Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Rajasthan Royals

Born in Karachi, middle-order batsman Owais Shah represented England in all three forms of the game. In 2009 he even batted at number three in a Test series against the West Indies with Ian Bell dropped after poor form.

Shah never did nail down a spot in England’s top order, but he did have a few years of success at the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2009 and 2010, averaging 57.5 in five matches in the latter campaign.

Shah was bought by Kochi Tuskers Kerala for $200,000 for the following two seasons, but started only three games before joining Rajasthan Royals where he scored 365 runs at 33.18 across 15 matches.

Paul Collingwood

Teams: Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals

Surprisingly, England’s 2010 T20 World Cup winning captain never really took off in the IPL. The all-rounder, who played 68 Tests, 197 ODIs, and 36 T20Is joined Delhi Daredevils for $275,000 at the 2009 auction.

His first season for the Gautam Gambhir-led side saw him warm the bench although he did have his moments in his second campaign, knocking 203 runs at a strike-rate of 130.12 with a high score of 75 not out, while also taking five wickets at an economy of 6.80.

He was released by the Daredevils prior to the 2011 auction, where he was bought by the Rajasthan Royals for $250,000. His Royals shirt would go unworn though, with Collingwood never being chosen to start for the Jaipur-based franchise.

Graham Napier

Teams: Mumbai Indians

He’s the one non-international on this list, with Graham Napier having to make do with appearing in a few England T20 squads and representing the Lions on a handful of occasions. Capable of bowling at high pace on his day, the Essex quick was deadly in English conditions and was pretty useful with the bat too.

Napier smashed 152 not out off just 58 balls in 2008 for Essex against Sussex – still the highest ever T20 score for a No.3. It was enough to earn him an IPL call up in 2009 with the Mumbai Indians. He’d only make a single appearance in the tournament, scoring 15 runs and picking up a single wicket in his four overs.

Still, he did get to share the field with Sachin Tendulker. Graham Napier: the streets will never forget.

Ravi Bopara

Teams: Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad

An England cult hero, Ravi Bopara has played in all three formats with centuries at both Test and ODI level. The all-rounder also enjoyed lots of success with the ball, with T20 best bowling figures of 6-16 for the Karachi Kings against the Lahore Qalandars in 2016.

Bopara made his IPL debut for Kings XI Punjab in 2009, where he played 15 times across two seasons. He scored three fifties with a highest score of 84 before returning to the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015, where he made 145 runs and took 6 wickets in nine matches.

Despite limited success in the IPL, Bopara was named player of the year in the 2016 Pakistan Super League after making 329 runs and taking 11 wickets in 9 matches for the Karachi Kings.

Dimi Mascarenhas

Teams: Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Pujab

Bowling all-rounder Dimi Mascarenhas represented England in ODIs and 14 T20Is. The former Hampshire man still holds the record for most runs in an over in an ODI for England, having smashed 30 off a Yuvraj Singh over at The Oval in 2007.

In 2008, he signed for the Rajasthan Royals. Following the ECB’s decision to not allow centrally-contracted England players to play in the tournament, Mascarenhas was the only English representative in the tournament’s inaugural year.

In three seasons he made a handful of appearances for the Royals, but was plagued by a recurring ankle injury. In 2011 he was bought by the Kings XI Punjab franchise for $100,000, but again, this English trailblazer could never really cement his place in the side.

Harry Gurney

Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders

Are we allowed to mention players from last year? Harry Gurney was capped by England in 10 ODIs and two T20Is, all of which came in 2014. But he has since gone onto become one of the T20 circuits’ most prized death options, and he was signed by the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2019. He was even named Player of the Match on his debut, taking 2-15 from his four against Rajasthan Royals.

Were it not for injury, he would have appeared in the 2020 IPL too.

Andrew Flintoff

Team: Chennai Super Kings

He’s clearly a huge name, but what’s surprising is that the career of England’s 2005 Ashes hero overlapped with the brash new competition. While Kevin Pietersen was appearing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore back in 2009, Andrew Flintoff was also making headlines for Chennai Super Kings. CSK bought Flintoff for $1,550,000 – $600,000 above his base price of $950,000, making him the then highest-ever-paid IPL player, alongside compatriot KP.

But, after just a handful of appearances, Flintoff had to withdraw from the tournament to have surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee. Not the fondest of memories for the Top Gear presenter.

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