Batsman elects to put his name up for auction, despite the direction of the ECB.
Ian Bell has joined countryman Kevin Pietersen as the only big English name to be up for bidding in the upcoming Indian Premier League auction.
After being humbled in Australia in the Ashes and one-day arena, English Cricket offcials were left scrambling to assure their fans they were working on re-establishing themselves as a world force in the game.
And while Peterson’s involvement with the IPL does not come as a surprise, with the attacking right-handed batsman being out of favour with English coach Andy Flower and captain Alastair Cook, Bell’s name on the auction list does come as a surprise.
Normally seen as the rock of the England middle-order, Bell is in the middle of a tour to forget in Australia, where he averred just in the mid-20s in the Ashes.
And while his numbers have improved in the one-day series that was recently completed, where Bell scored 207 runs at 41.4, his decision goes against the ECB looking to keep player younger players like, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler out of the auction.
During negotiations about England’s new central contracts, it was agreed in principle that the ECB would be supportive where possible of England players’ ambitions to play IPL, which legitimises the ambitions of Bell and others to play in the tournament.
Especially as England’s early season campaign features limited-over cricket against Sri Lankan, allowing Bell to turn up for his home summer in a different manner, and at a listed price of $160,000, Bell could be a bargain for any IPL side.
Arguably the two most aggrieved players in England’s list could turn out to be Samit Patel and Alex Hales. The Nottinghamshire pair were released by their county as long as they earned a minimum of $400,000 – an attempt to measure their argument that they could not financially afford to ignore the tournament.
That figure has turned out to be high and has been cut to the auction ceiling of $320,000, but that still leaves Patel, in particular, seeming overpriced. Hales, one of the leading T20 batsmen in the world, should surely sell at that level.
Eleven England-qualified players are in the list, with Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright looking certain to pick up deals.
England players in IPL auction: Ian Bell (Warks), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Alex Hales (Notts), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Azhar Mahmood, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Eoin Morgan (Middx), Samit Patel (Notts), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Luke Wright (Sussex)