sam Curran has the chance to become an IPL star after he capped a extraordinary year by attracting the highest salary for an overseas player in Monday’s auction.
Curran was buy for £800,000, benefitting from a bid battle between three franchise before Kings XI Punjab made the winning offer.
Once again it was performance against India that concerned IPL eyes with Curran benefitting from a brilliant Test series last summer, when he was chosen as England’s man of the series by Virat Kohli. It was no surprise Kohli’s team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, entered the bidding after the India captain was strike by Curran’s all-round talent. Ricky Ponting, the coach of Delhi, was also keen to sign Curran, and ongoing the bidding, but in the end it was a battle between Kings XI and Bangalore, making Curran the stick out signing of England players in the auction.
Jonny Bairstow will also play in the IPL for the first time after he was sign for £240,000 by Sunrisers Hyderabad. Bairstow went straight from the England tour to Sri Lanka to play in a 10-over league in the UAE in order to try and attract an IPL contract. The move worked. He ruined 84 off 24 balls, a timely performance two weeks before the auction.
The signings of Bairstow and Curran once again underscore the importance of being an all-rounder, joining Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler with big IPL deals.
Curran has not played for England in T20 cricket and his brother Tom is seen as being ahead of him in the shortest format with his ability to bowl lots of variation. Tom did not enter the IPL auction, prefer instead to focus on England and nailing down a World Cup place. His picture was unconsciously used by the broadcasters showing the auction, a case of mistaken identity that will not happen again if Sam has a good tournament in the world’s biggest cricket league.
Sam Curran will be available for the complete tournament, which boosted his earning power, but England’s ODI players will miss the start of the IPL due to the clash with the West Indies tour and will have to be home early to prepare for the World Cup. It partially explains why Chris Woakes went unsold having landed two sizeable deals in recent auctions. Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan also unsuccessful to attract bids.
Joe Denly, man of the match in England’s last Twenty20 international, was bought in the second round of bidding for £110,000 by Kolkata.
Liam Livingstone will play beside Lancashire team-mate Buttler at Rajasthan and, as a good player of spin, could be a bargain buy for £55,000.
Nottinghamshire left-armer Harry Gurney will join Denly at Kolkata but it was amazing Pat Brown, Worcestershire’s Twenty20 specialist bowler and star of the Vitality Blast, failed to attract a bid.
Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire batsman Ben Duckett will return to England Lions duty next month for the first time since being given a final written warning for his conduct in Australia.
Duckett earned the ire of the England management by pouring a beer over James Anderson’s head in a Perth bar last December, with the left-hander being fined and suspended from playing for the Lions in Australia. The incident led to Duckett, 24, being omitted from the West Indies tour earlier this year, but he has been named in the squads for five 50-over fixtures and two unofficial Tests against India A.
The Lions will play their limited-overs matches in the southern city of Thiruvananthapuram from Jan 23-31 before travelling north to Wayanad for two four-day games in early February.
Duckett’s county team-mates Matthew Carter and Zak Chappell have been given their first Lions call-ups. Lancashire seamer Tom Bailey has also been recognised by the Lions for the first time.