England players were the notable absentees from the inaugural Indian Premier League season. Only Dimitri Mascarenhas featured, but he is likely to be joined by some of his international colleagues in 2009. The ECB hopes that the money on offer in November’s Stanford match in the Caribbean will dissuade Engilsh stars from missing the start of next year’s domestic season, but money talks and it would be a surprise if Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen didn’t feature in some of the 2009 IPL.
These two are the sort of players that the franchises will be keen to recruit. Big hitters like Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist went for big money in this year’s auctions and six hitters will remain in demand. Flintoff and Pietersen’s capabilities are well know, but there are other lesser known names that have put themselves in the shop window.
Graham Napier stole the headlines in England for his brutal 152 against Sussex, an innings which included a world record 16 sixes. He is fifth on the Twenty20 cup’s season run scoring charts, scoring his runs at a strike rate of 199.38 and average of 35.88. He has also taken 15 wickets with his brisk swing bowling and is a genuine allrounder in this form of the game.
Brilliant individual performances might get the franchises’ attention more than consistently decent ones, so Dawid Malan, who scored a scintillating 103 in Middlesex’s quarter final win over Lancashire, might be in demand more than Joe Denly and Michael Carberry, classical strokemakers who sit near the top of the run charts.
Overseas stars have dominated the wicket taking charts in the Twenty20 cup. South Africans Andrew Hall and Tyron Henderson, first and third in the worldwide wicket charts, confirmed their skill with the ball in England, taking 20 and 19 wickets respectively. Hall might be off limits due to his participation in the rebel ICL this year, but Henderson, who is also a handy lower order hitter, could be expecting a call from the franchise bosses.
Danish Kaneria, Abdul Razzaq and Yasir Arafat might have seen their Pakistan careers stall, but they remain class acts in Twenty20 cricket, bringing variation and experience to county attacks. Spin proved its worth in 2008’s IPL, so Kaneria, an expert in subcontinent conditions, might attract some bids.
Franchises will also be able to trade players, so Ajantha Mendis and Luke Ronchi, who only played a handful of games last season, might earn big money moves on the back of recent notable performances at One Day international level. The IPL is keen to evolve and to attract new players, with Deccan Chargers and Bangalore Royal Challengers particularly likely to recruit new talent after disappointing campaigns last time around.