The IPL has rarely had a strong English presence since the tournament began a decade ago, but one by-product of England’s white ball resurgence has been an increased demand for England players from franchises around the world.
This year England will have the second highest amount of overseas players in the competition, only Australia will be sending more. VAVEL UK Cricket takes a look at who will be turning out this year and how they’ll fare in the coming weeks.
Mark Wood (Chennai Super Kings)
The sheer speed of Mark Wood was always going to make him an attractive option for the IPL franchises. The Durham paceman has shown himself to be more than capable at both ends of the innings when playing in England colours and having shown himself to be handy with the bat he could be a key feature in his first IPL campaign.
A lack of other express bowlers in the Super Kings’ stable is likely to mean that Wood will be a regular feature in the side throughout the tournament, although they may choose to rotate Wood with Lungi Ndidi in order to preserve Wood’s fragile body.
Sam Billings (Chennai Super Kings)
Joining Wood in the yellow of Chennai will be Sam Billings. Having spent the last two seasons with the Delhi Daredevils, Billings has made the switch to the Super Kings for 2018. His time at Delhi was solid, whilst unspectacular, and with Billings commanding a fairly low fee he was an attractive option to provide wicketkeeping cover for MS Dhoni.
The wicketkeeper-batsman may struggle for game time ahead of Faf Du Plessis and Shane Watson but if his chance does come he can certainly be relied upon.
Jason Roy (Delhi Daredevils)
England’s explosive white ball opener has enjoyed a fairly rapid rise in his reputation in recent years and his ability to come quickly out of the starting blocks makes him a very dangerous player in white ball cricket. However, Jason Roy's time with franchises has so far been unsuccessful.
His first season in the IPL saw him make just three appearances for the Gujarat Lions and a fairly lean spell with the Sydney Sixers soon followed in this winter’s Big Bash League.
Whilst the Surrey man’s playing time is likely to increase on his first IPL outing, it’s unlikely he will manage to become Delhi’s regular overseas opener. Colin Munro’s impressive T20 form and his ability to bowl if needed will probably give the Kiwi the edge.
Tom Curran (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Despite his tender age, Kolkata have seen enough in Tom Curran to choose him as their replacement for the injured Mitchell Starc. Despite not possessing the pace of Starc, Curran’s strong death bowling skills will hopefully allow him to become a strong force for the Knight Riders.
Curran could benefit from KKR having the smallest squad in the IPL and the fact that a number of their players have injury worries.
It will likely be a toss-up between the Englishman and Mitchell Johnson for the final overseas spot and Curran will be hoping his skills at the end of the innings can put him ahead of the Australian.
Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)
Having been the signing of the IPL last year, the Durham all-rounder has returned to India, this time in the blue of Rajasthan. With his incredible talent in all aspects of the sport, every franchise would’ve loved to have Stokes playing in their colours.
His playing time is not in any doubt, there’s no sense in making a player the most expensive overseas player in the auction this year then not utilising him.
Whether he’ll make an impact at the top of the order with the bat, with the ball in hand or his dynamism in the field it is certain the Ben Stokes will make the headlines again this year.
Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals)
Jos Buttler has been a feature in the last two IPL seasons, playing for the Mumbai Indians, but it’s been fairly underwhelming for the aggressive opener.
It’s undeniable that the Lancashire man has the talent and there’s only a matter of time before it clicks for him.
Whilst he may have competition for the gloves and as an opening batsman, he may well benefit from Steve Smith’s ban as his absence will probably allow Buttler to maintain a spot throughout the tournament as a specialist batsman.
Jofra Archer (Rajasthan Royals)
He may not have qualified for England yet, but his open desire to complete the process in 2022 means he takes his spot among our list of Englishmen.
Having enjoyed a massively successful debut season in the Big Bash League, he commanded a fee of £800,000 for his services this year.
His mix of deadly yorkers and rapid bouncers made him an instant hero with fans of the game and when coupled with some excellent displays in the field he will undoubtedly become a regular in the Rajasthan Royals team this year.
Chris Woakes (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
In recent years, the Challengers have struggled to strike a balance in their side and in order to combat that they’ve spent big on all-rounders.
Chris Woakes may have lost his test place recently, but having impressed in his first IPL season and the large amounts of money spent to get him, he’s going to be a huge part of RCB’s hopes this season.
The only worry for him will be that due to the immense riches of Royal Challengers Bangalore and the huge numbers of overseas stars in their squad if he doesn’t hit the ground running he could soon be swapped out for another star.
Moeen Ali (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
With Moeen Ali enduring a disastrous winter, he will be hoping that a successful IPL can reinvigorate his form.
However, with RCB having a high number of overseas all-rounders and their squad also possessing a strong pack of Indian spinners, it may be tough for him to break into the side.
His ability to start innings as well as his strengths as a finisher at the back end could put him ahead of some of the others in the Challengers squad, although the spinning all-rounder will have to get up to speed quickly if he is to keep his place in the squad.
Alex Hales (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Another Englishman that has benefited from the fallout from ‘sandpaper-gate’, Alex Hales was called into the squad as a like-for-like replacement for David Warner. Despite losing his England opening birth to Jonny Bairstow, Hales has shown an undeniable level of skill in his white ball skill over the years.
Hales had been signed by Mumbai Indians in 2015 as injury cover, although he never made an appearance.
This year though, Hales is very likely to get regular game time joining Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order, although Hyderabad may occasionally operate with two overseas all-rounders with Wriddhiman Saha as their opener.
Chris Jordan (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Chris Jordan enjoyed a hugely successful IPL in 2016 for RCB. 2017 was a different story though, appearing just once for the Sunrisers. He must have impressed on the training ground however as they chose to retain him for this year.
Despite being a tail-ender he is no slouch with the bat, he’s also an exceptional fielder but it’s his incredible death bowling skills that make him an attractive option for the franchises.
Jordan may struggle for game time, Australian Billy Stanlake is likely to be his direct competition in the side as Hyderabad already possess a good Indian pace attack spearheaded by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The IPL gets underway on Saturday when the Mumbai Indians face the Chennai Super Kings.