After years of under-representation in the world’s biggest T20 tournament, 12 England internationals were selected for this years IPL, as well as Jofra Archer, who hopes to qualify to represent England in the future. Its been a tough and challenging time for the English invasion with a large section not being able to break into their franchise side and the guys playing not performing as they and their team would have hoped.
The IPL has been running for 10 years now and most of the sides recruit on continuity and previous success they have had with players from previous campaigns. It’s a strategy that makes a lot sense with 20/20 cricket very much a case of finding balance in a side and players to perform very specific roles within the 20 overs. Opening the batting is generally requiring a fast scorer who can take advantage of the first 6 over restrictions. A specialist “death” bowler who can bowl Yorkers, slower balls and lots variation as well as have a steady nerve, balance in bowling as well with a big emphasis on quality spin, but also with good pace in reserve for the different pitch’s and opposition encountered.
This emphasis on selecting players who have performed well for a franchise in the past and are lined up to play a specific role in teams line up has had an adverse effect on a lot of the English players who have not played or performed in the IPL before and as such are used more as back up to the tried and tested player when sides select their four overseas players. Billings, Wood, Roy, Woakes, Mooen Ali, Hales and Jordan have hardly played a match between them.
Interestingly the most successful Englishman in the tournament so far is Jos Buttler with an excellent 320 runs to his name and scores of 67, 51 and 82 in his last three innings which has saw him as his team’s top scorer in the last three games. Unlike his fellow countrymen this is Buttler’s third IPL and he is a known quantity for his exploits in previous tournaments and very much selected with a clear role in his side and a starting place guaranteed. He has kept wicket in every game and has started as a lower order finisher at the start of the tournament and as the season has progressed used his power hitting at the front of the innings.
With England’s ever improving form in the shorter format, it could well see more English players playing in the IPL and hopefully taking their chances and making themselves an integral part of the franchise sides which would benefit both the individual and England team with exposure to the pressure cooker environment of playing in front of millions in India takes on.
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