Since the inception of the Indian Premier League (IPL), England has been skeptical of its players taking part in the cash-rich league. For a long time, the English Board showed reluctance in sending its players to play in the IPL. In the inaugural edition in 2008, all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas was the lone English player in the league. Mascarenhas represented the Rajasthan Royals but played only a solitary game before returning home.
England ignored the IPL for quite a long time, the reasons being probable jealousy, shift in format affecting player’s Test cricket as well as injury concerns. It took a very long time for England to allow its players to come and play the IPL.
Eoin Morgan opens up on impact of IPL on England cricket
England’s World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan spoke about the IPL in conversation with cricket commentator and journalist Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz. Morgan said that he pushed Andrew Strauss, director of England Cricket Board (ECB) to send Jos Buttler to play the IPL before the 2019 Word Cup. Buttler joined the Rajasthan Royals in 2018. He had an outstanding season scoring 548 runs in 13 matches. Buttler revealed that playing in the IPL gave him huge amounts of confidence. Playing under pressure situations and in front of massive crowds helps a lot, he said. His performance in the IPL saw him getting back into the England squad. As a result, he continued his fine form at the international level as well, that obviously benefited England.
Buttler’s transformation eventually helped Strauss realise the importance of playing in the IPL. He realised that for England to be more successful in tournament cricket players need more IPL experience. Ben Stokes is another fine example. He was picked by the Rising Pune SuperGiants in 2017 for a record sum of INR 14.5 Cr. Stokes won the MVP award that year with 316 runs and 12 wickets. Ever since, Stokes has put up match-winning performances for England be it at the Word Cup or the Ashes. It is this professional development that has compelled England to allow more players in the IPL.
Part of the Plan, says Morgan
Coming back to Eoin Morgan, the English skipper said that allowing Jos Buttler was a part of the plan. England is now using the IPL as a vehicle to grow their players, he said.
He stressed on the pressure and expectations as an overseas player in the IPL is crucial. It helps you find a way to deal with pressure. It takes you out of your comfort zone. Irrespective of the number of games, English players have done well at the IPL, he said.
He also went on to add that such a tournament helps to replicate pressure like that in a World Cup or a Champions Trophy. He credits the evolution of the IPL for the growth of young players and a shift in mindset towards the tournament. It helps players gain exposure needed for international cricket, learn from some of the great players and coaches around as well, he said.
England’s coach during their sucessful World Cup campaign in 2019 was Trevor Bayliss. Trevor Bayliss is the very same coach who led the Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL trophies in 2012 and 2014.
In recent times, several players have done well in the IPL and gone on to perform well for England. The likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer have been big attractions at the lucrative league. Players like Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali have also been doing well. From a single player in 2008, England now have as many as 13 players playing for various franchises in the league. Eoin Morgan hopes for more and more English players to play the IPL in the times to come. Morgan is all set to return to his former franchise Kolkata Knight Riders after being picked for INR 5.25 Cr at the 2020 Player auctions.
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