England players hope for IPL exposure

With the ECB easing its rules on releasing players for the IPL, many England cricketers are hoping to feature in the Indian league in the upcoming seasons.

England cricketer Liam Plunkett interacts with the media in Mumbai on Wednesday.   -  THE HINDU

When Jos Buttler was allowed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to play the full season of the Indian Premier League’s 2016 edition, it was the first hint of the ECB accepting the need to ease its regulations on releasing its players for the Indian league. Some of the top England cricketers on Wednesday hoped that the trend will continue in the coming years.

“The IPL is a massive attraction to everyone around the world. It is not just that, there are also other competitions happening around the world and we England cricketers don’t get an opportunity to play in those matches like the players from the other countries get to do,” said Ben Stokes.

“It is something that we want to do but at the same time we need to look at the schedule and how much cricket we actually play because time off and rest is the key.

“IPL doesn’t come in great time for us in terms of the summer of Test cricket, county cricket. It is something to look forward in the future,” the all-rounder, who is in red-hot form, said.

While Buttler was allowed to register for the IPL and bought by the Mumbai Indians for Rs 3.8 crore this year, the ECB didn’t allow Moeen Ali, the ferocious left-handed batsman who has surprisingly emerged as England’s key off-spinner, to be a part of the last month’s IPL auction. Ali hoped things would change in future.

“I would love to play in the IPL one day. It looks like a very glamorous competition. And when you play with other international stars it is going to be good for your game and I would also love to work on my game with the other spinners here,” he said.

Pakistan and England cricketers have traditionally been the untouchables for most of the Indian Premier League’s eight-year sojourn for completely different reasons. While Pakistani cricketers miss out on the IPL exposure due to security concerns, the English lot is deprived due to ECB and county’s resistance to releasing players during what is the peak English summer.

As a result, among the squad of 15 selected for the World T20, captain Eoin Morgan is the only Englishman to have featured in an IPL game. It means that besides an opportunity to rub shoulders and interact with the top cricketers across the globe, the English players also miss out on a fat purse.

Pace bowler Liam Plunkett had no qualms in admitting it. “IPL is huge, I like the money in it,” he said with a grin. “I will have to see what happens with England and stuff. If your ambition is to play Test cricket then you might not be allowed but we will see what happens.”