Welcome to the IPL, England-style


The evening before Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Kolkata Knight Riders at 6.15pm at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Teams are training on either side of the square and between them two men are talking – one in KKR training kit, the other in RCB polo.

james fosterCatching up with KKR assistant coach, Mo Bobat, who is in India for a week in his role as RCB’s performance consultant. Foster has worked regularly with England as assistant coach over the past three years, while Bobat is the ECB’s director of performance.

david wiley Walks past him and heads towards the changing room, finishes off his pre-match net. When he re-emerges with ball in hand, he turns to Freddie Wild, the RCB and England white-ball analyst, and the pair discuss plans for the next evening: how Willey should attack jason roy,

On the other side of the square, Roy is waiting to bat in the KKR nets, starting his session a little later than his teammates due to media duties. “To play here in front of these crowds… it’s incredibly special,” he said the night before his 22-ball fifty. “The passion here is second to none.”

Back home in the UK, KKR are being supported remotely by Nathan Lemmon, Wild’s predecessor with England. James Bell, a psychologist who regularly works with England teams, has been available to RCB players remotely, before joining them during their five consecutive away games.

Welcome to the IPL, England-style. Eight years ago, after England failed to reach the quarter-finals in a disappointing ODI World Cup, only two of their players – Ravi Bopara And Eoin Morgan – Made appearances in the IPL, and contributed 332 runs and six wickets between them.

Now, the Englishman is playing a key role in almost every franchise – both on and off the pitch. “It’s been a big shift,” says moeen ali, who have played in each of the last six IPL seasons. “Before, you had some English players but certainly not as many as you would now.”

on Monday, chris jordan Became the 17th England player to be under contract at some stage in IPL 2023, a record for a single season. Nine out of ten teams in the league have fielded at least one Englishman in the past six weeks; The only exception, Gujarat Titans, has one as its director of cricket.

“You expect it,” says Joe Root, who finally made his IPL debut for Rajasthan Royals on Sunday. “When you see it [England] T20 team at the moment, you are looking at some of the best players in the world. The fact that people have gotten exposure to it, I think is great. It will only improve the game in our country.”

Morgan, Paul Collingwood And Kevin Pietersen Three of the earliest advocates of the IPL in England – have been involved in commentary on various platforms during this season, and all three can look with some astonishment at the resistance they meet from the ECB when they try to make themselves available to play Was doing. Early season of IPL.

Memorable compared to talking to Pietersen Andrew Strauss, his England captain, in his 2014 autobiography about the IPL “Talking to Victor about Gangsta Rap”. On Friday night, Strauss’s face briefly flashed on the big screen at Jaipur’s Sawai Mansingh Stadium; He was wearing a pink Rajasthan Royals polo shirt, and in his capacity as an advisor to the franchise.

In fact, Strauss’ approach to the IPL was not as described by Pietersen. Strauss wrote in his autobiography, “Going to India, to surround yourself with the best players in the world and to learn to innovate and adapt to different conditions would certainly be of great benefit to the players.” driving ambition – which was published a year before Peterson’s.

Strauss further added, “If England are serious about becoming a force to be reckoned with in the shorter forms of the game, one thing the administrators will have to look at is allowing our players to participate.” When he became England’s managing director of men’s cricket in 2015, Strauss set out to do just that.

After the 2015 World Cup, in which England were eliminated before the quarter-finals, Strauss noticed a huge gap in IPL experience between the England team and the four semi-finalists (Australia, India, New Zealand and South Africa). It confirmed his belief that the benefits of spending two months with the best white-ball players in the world were competitive as well as commercial.

Players were actively encouraged to enter the IPL auction, even if it meant missing two months of County Championship cricket in the build-up to the summer’s first Test series. Where once going to India counted against players in selection, now IPL form is actively considered: jos buttler Won a Test recall in 2018 after five consecutive fifties for the Rajasthan Royals.

And slowly, the ECB’s desire for players to experience the IPL is starting to reflect financially as well. Since inception, centrally-contracted players were deducted a percentage of their annual retainer for each day they spent in the IPL; Over the past few years, that arrangement has been quietly dropped.

Now, England’s status as double world champions – the first men’s team to hold the 50-over and 20-over World Cups simultaneously – means franchises are desperate to tap into their white-ball culture. “It shows that we have been good in international cricket for many years, so most of the time teams want to pick your players in IPL,” says Moeen.

Three of the top five buyers at the December auction were English (harry brook, Sam Curran And Ben Stokes) And while neither of them had the tournament they had envisioned, Brook scored his first century of the season and Curran was handed the Punjab Kings captaincy when Shikhar Dhawan was unavailable.

But now, even such players, who are not guaranteed selection in England’s full-strength squad, find themselves in demand. “It’s great to see even the boys like Phil Salt Step up, take that opportunity, start getting some scores – guys who haven’t always been regulars on the international scene start making their way into this tournament,” says Root, who himself hasn’t played a T20I for four years .

And now, the infection extends beyond the pitch. Take Bobot, for example. “I’ve worked with Mo for three years,” says mike hesson, Director of Cricket, RCB. “In white-ball cricket, England have undoubtedly made a good change. Obviously in 2015 – which I was a part of [as New Zealand coach] England were not at their best.

“And we certainly saw, from New Zealand’s point of view, how England changed. I saw it firsthand with Brendan [McCullum] and Ion are good friends and share a lot of similarities. It flowed into white-ball cricket, and is now a big part of their red-ball stuff. Mo has been a part of that journey, how the transition has happened. We’re lucky to have him.”

Where Australian players once dominated the backroom staff of the IPL, they are slowly being replaced by Englishmen. After working closely with the franchisee jofra archer Returning to fitness, Ben Langley left the ECB earlier this year to become Mumbai Indians’ global head of sports science and medicine.

The fear, in the medium term, is that others may follow. The expansion of IPL franchises overseas has meant that employees are signing year-long contracts; It is only a matter of time until players follow suit, with informal discussions already underway in some cases.

In the ECB’s financial statements for 2022–23, “the rise and growth of global franchise leagues and pressures on player wage inflation in a highly competitive market” have been identified as “key risks”. board is in process overhauling its central-contracting systemRecognizing that the pulling power of the T20 league is not going anywhere.

But if the IPL franchises trust the British more, then England also trusts the franchises. Both Archer and Stokes were cleared to travel to India for the 2023 season, and the ECB managed their injuries with their respective franchises throughout this campaign; rob keyThe managing director of men’s cricket believes the competition is “only good” for players to be involved in.

Perhaps the most influential Englishman in the IPL is one of the least announced. Vikram Solanki left his role as head coach of Surrey 16 months ago to become the Titans’ director of cricket: in his first season, the Titans won the IPL; In his second, he is the pace-setter of the league.

Solanki marks a change in English cricket’s relationship with the IPL. England was once a laggard in T20 cricket; Now, he has more influence on the cutting edge of the format than ever before.

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