We take stock of the England players set to feature in the IPL and rate their chances of featuring in the tournament.
A raft of England stars are set to take part in the 2021 edition of the IPL, with the auction on Thursday finalising the franchise squads.
Moeen Ali was the biggest English buy, with Chennai Super Kings splashing INR 7 crore, roughly £692,000, on the off-spinning all-rounder.
Despite the hefty fees on show, some Englishmen will feature less than others in the tournament, with four overseas players allowed per XI.
Here’s a look at the England players who seem set to play regularly (likely starters), who could be somewhat in-and-out (up in the air), and who could struggle for games (warming the bench).
With Eoin Morgan captaining Kolkata Knight Riders, he’ll be one of the first names on the team sheet at that franchise.
Jofra Archer was the tournament MVP in 2020, so he’ll be a nailed-on starter at Rajasthan Royals, most likely lining up alongside Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes throughout the tournament. “I have no doubt they’re the three of the most valuable players in the world,” said Kumar Sangakkara, the Royals’ director of cricket, after the auction, confirming the importance of the trio to the franchise’s strategy.
Sam Curran was one of the bright spots in a dour campaign for the Chennai Super Kings in 2020, playing all of their games, so it would be surprising to see him out of the starting XI come the start of the tournament this year.
Up in the air
Moeen‘s versatility means he is bound to be used by CSK, though it remains hard to gauge where exactly. With Shane Watson out of the picture after retiring, Moeen could slot in as an opening batsman, despite being used in the middle order and as a finisher by England. But following their miserable 2020 campaign, Super Kings could embark on a more significant rejig of their XI. As well as Curran, Faf du Plessis and one of Lungi Ngidi or Josh Hazlewood are likely to make up three-quarters of their overseas contingent. Dwayne Bravo and Mitchell Santner are their other options.
Delhi Capitals relied on the South African pace duo of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada in firing them to their first-ever final last year – with that in mind, Chris Woakes and Tom Curran look to be backup options. But with South Africa set to play Pakistan in April, the England duo could use that period to enjoy some game time should Nortje and Rabada be unavailable for a chunk. Both offer all-round options too, so could help Delhi Capitals balance their XI
After an impressive maiden IPL campaign in 2019, Jonny Bairstow lost his place in the latter stages of the 2020 tournament as the Sunrisers altered the balance of their squad: David Warner, Rashid Khan, Kane Williamson and Jason Holder ended up forming an impressive collection of overseas players in the first XI.
Dawid Malan, the No.1 ranked T20I batsman in the world, faces the tough task of displacing Chris Gayle, arguably the greatest T20 batsman of all time, in the Punjab Kings top order.
Warming the bench
Another Englishman at Rajasthan Royals, Liam Livingstone, will most likely provide cover as an overseas batsman, with Chris Morris, the most expensive IPL auction buy ever, likely to round out the aforementioned English trio to complete Royals’ first-choice overseas quartet.
At Delhi Capitals, Sam Billings offers wicketkeeping back-up to Rishbah Pant. With Marcus Stoinis likely to start, other middle-order overseas options in the form of Shimron Hetmyer and Steve Smith would be expected to sit in front of him in the pecking order.
At Punjab Kings, the big-money signings of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith will hurt Chris Jordan’s chances of playing after the England quick enjoyed a mixed bag of a season in 2020.