23 January 2009

England players cleared for IPL – who will be the most wanted?

England’s cricketers will play in the Indian Premier League later this year after the England and Wales Cricket board agreed to release them for a period of three weeks. It is a decision that has prompted the players to finally sign their central contracts that they had originally been offered back in September last year.

It seems clear that the England players are keen not to miss out on the opportunity to earn a significant sum of money from playing in the IPL and who can blame them? The tournament was a huge success last year and the only major cricket nation missing some players was England.

It is all very well the players being released for IPL duty, but which of England’s players will be in demand for the Twenty20 competition? It’s hardly a form of the game that the team have excelled in so far. Nevertheless, let’s take a look.

Former captain Kevin Pietersen will not only be the most sought after England player, but one of the hottest properties amongst all of the world’s players. Many IPL teams will want him in their team and will look forward to seeing his unique batting style, including the infamous ‘switch-hit’ that he has adopted.

KP’s reputation in India was enhanced even further when he led his England team back to India after the Mumbai terror attacks. There is no doubt that he will the subject of many bids and could earn as much as $1m in total from his IPL experience.

Andrew Flintoff is likely to be England’s only other genuine ‘hot property’. Freddie could well earn as much as Pietersen as his reputation as one of the best all-rounders in the game will make him a very wanted man.

He has hit form at the right time as well and if this continues throughout the English summer, he will be a huge asset for any IPL team. Flintoff is also a very likeable character and he will be the main attraction in some games.

Other than these two, there are arguably no England players that will be in as much demand. Perhaps this reflects the team’s poor record in Twenty20 cricket, I’m not sure. Samit Patel is someone that has already been linked with the Delhi Daredevils and he admits that it would be a great ‘opportunity’.

Elsewhere, Paul Collingwood’s experience will probably land him a place somewhere. He averages 34.30 in 154 One Day Internationals and can also offer something with the ball. Speaking about the prospect of playing in the IPL, he said that there are plenty of ‘benefits’ other than the financial ones. By this he means that England’s players can use it as preparation for the Twenty20 World Cup.

Finally, the only other players I would expect to make a significant impact in the IPL are Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah. Both of them are flamboyant batsman and I’d expect the cricket odds to back them scoring plenty of runs in India. They would suit the competition down to the ground in my opinion, especially Shah.

Stuart Broad
’s all-round abilities also could mean that he proves a success, but there is no getting away from the fact that Pietersen and Flintoff are the main men to come out of Team England.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting

1 comment:

Soulberry said...

There should be quite a few Englishmen - KP, Freddie, Bopara (I however wish they'd skip him out of pique over his "funny" statements mid-2008), Collingwood, Shah Broad....I'm not ruling out Swann. Mascar of course continues I guess.