March 2, 2021

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Tom Banton, Eoin Morgan among England’s IPL auction hopefuls

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Tom Banton thumps one over midwicket © Getty Images

There was a time when finding England players in the IPL auction longlist was as rare as hen’s teeth, but there are as many as 22 up for grabs on Thursday. With teams looking to fill their holes, here’s a look at who might be involved in next year’s competition…

Dead certs

Six Englishmen have been retained by their franchises, and it doesn’t take much to work out why. Rajasthan Royals have kept their core of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer together, while Jonny Bairstow‘s superb form at the top of the Sunrisers Hyderabad order saw him retained. Moeen Ali will return to Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Harry Gurney was kept on by Kolkata Knight Riders after a decent, if unspectacular, first IPL season.


With at least three franchises in the market for an overseas opening batsman or two, Jason Roy and Tom Banton can both expect to attract bids, with KKR, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians the most likely suitors. Roy’s IPL experience only extends to eight games across two seasons, with an unbeaten 91 in a successful run chase for Delhi Daredevils his only score above 31, but his belligerence against pace (152.8 SR since 2017) marks him out as a strong attacking option.

Banton, meanwhile, had franchises circling even before he lit up the Vitality Blast with 549 runs at a 161.5 strike rate this summer, and could be set for a significant payday – aside from the three teams above, watch out for a bid from RCB.

Eoin Morgan plays through the off side © BCCI

Eoin Morgan‘s IPL record is underwhelming, with only four fifties in 45 innings spanning six seasons. But his impressive leadership makes him a candidate to replace R Ashwin as KXIP captain, while Delhi are looking for a middle-order option, Trevor Bayliss may want his lieutenant back at Sunrisers, and Morgan’s close friend Brendon McCullum could be tempted to bring him into the KKR fold.

Sam Curran was released by KXIP, but could well be bought back at a lower price than the INR7.2 crore (US$1m) he fetched last year, while Rajasthan, Delhi and Chennai Super Kings are other potential destinations.


Chris Jordan had a decent season for RCB back in 2016, with 11 wickets in nine games, and has been on a stellar run in T20Is with 14 wickets and an economy rate of 7.55 this calendar year. While he is not likely to be the first name on anyone’s teamsheet, he is as solid as they come in terms of back-up options.

Tom Curran leaps to hold on to one © BCCI

Tom Curran, similarly, is well-placed to be a seam-bowling back-up option. His only IPL season – for KKR in 2018 – saw him leak nearly 12 runs per over, but he has accumulated more experience since then, and demonstrated his all-round credentials with a series of useful cameos in last year’s Big Bash.

Chris Woakes, meanwhile, hasn’t played a T20 in over a year, and has fallen out of England contention in the format, but was earmarked by Ricky Ponting as someone who could be in demand as teams hunt for overseas allrounders – though a high base price of INR1.5 crore (US$210,000) could cost him.

Outside chance

Liam Plunkett does not have age on his side at 35, but could find a buyer for a last hurrah before next year’s big auction, while Mark Wood and David Willey have IPL experience having spent 2018 at CSK.

Pat Brown, the canny knuckleball bowler who made his England debut in New Zealand, is a potential steal at INR50 lakh (US$70,000), and his changes of pace could suit a slow pitch with big square boundaries like Chepauk.

Alex Hales drills a drive through cover © BCCI

Alex Hales‘ star has fallen considerably in 2019, after his deselection from England’s World Cup squad when he tested positive for a recreational substance, and his form in franchise T20 has been scratchy, with one fifty in his last 16 innings. That said, he has a great record against pace in India (148 SR, 38.8 average) and could be an option as a back-up opener.

Long shots

Picked up at INR12 crore (US$1.8m) in the 2017 auction after a four-way bidding war, Tymal Mills‘ stock has fallen in the years since, primarily due to his unfortunate injury record. He is unlikely to attract anywhere near that money this time round, but could be a back-up left-arm option.

Ravi Bopara is pumped after taking a wicket © BCCI

Ravi Bopara is back in the auction with a INR50 lakh (US$70,000) base price after a stellar season in the T20 Blast, in which he averaged 48.50 while striking at 162.6 to haul Essex to the title. With his medium-pace cutters often proving useful in subcontinental conditions, he could find as a spot as a back-up allrounder, as could Lewis Gregory, who was invited on trial by Rajasthan Royals last season.

Laurie Evans has been a prolific run-scorer in leagues around the world, though mainly bats in a No. 3 role that most teams will either have filled or be searching for big-name options, and Saqib Mahmood is an outside bet as a back-up option with the ball.


As well as Evans, there are five further uncapped Englishmen in the auction, all of whom would represent shock purchases if they were snapped up.

George Garton was the leading wicket-taker at the recent Abu Dhabi T10 and with a INR20 lakh (US$28,000) base price, could be a back-up left-arm seamer for Rajasthan after going on trial with them earlier in the month, while Will Jacks – a T10 centurion in a pre-season match earlier this year – is another possible bargain buy.

George Garton delivers the ball at pace © Getty Images

The remaining three players were all Royal London Cup winners with Gloucestershire four years ago: slower-ball specialist Benny Howell, seam-bowling allrounder and late-innings hitter James Fuller, and left-arm swing bowler David Payne. All of them are canny county pros, but seem like improbable purchases.


Joe Root – whose T20I future is uncertain – opted not to enter the auction, and will instead start the 2019 season playing County Championship cricket for Yorkshire. Liam Livingstone, Sam Billings and Joe Denly have all opted to follow suit, while Adil Rashid continues to manage his shoulder problem.

Liam Dawson, Matt Parkinson and Luke Wright all threw their names into the hat, but were shorn off the longlist after failing to make any franchise’s shortlist.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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