England's IPL XI: Jos Buttler and Sam Curran among 2019 stars
Sky customers can watch the IPL live on Star Gold, channel 729
By David Currie
Last Updated: 24/03/19 9:12am
The 2019 Indian Premier League is under way, with 11 England-qualified players taking part.
It is the biggest number of English representatives involved since the tournament's inception and makes for a formidable line-up. Here is a look at each player's IPL pedigree and which franchise they will be representing...
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Sky customers can watch the Indian Premier League live by tuning in to Star Gold, available on channel 729.
1. Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals)
How much did he cost? £460,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: Box-office Buttler is arguably the biggest English draw in the IPL. After a couple of somewhat underwhelming years - averaging mid-20s and striking one fifty over 24 matches - boy did Buttler come alive last year! He averaged 54.80 for the tournament, matching Virender Sehwag's record of five consecutive IPL fifties along the way.
What can we expect? More of the same. Buttler's sensational form shows no sign of abating, with his most recent explosive exploits coming in the Caribbean as he whacked a massive 150 from 77 balls to see England past 400 for a fourth time in four years in a thriller against the Windies in St Lucia. It is one of two ODI tons tonked by Buttler since last year's IPL, a period in which he has averaged 63.44. His T20 form has not been half bad either, with two fifties in five innings for England - at a strike rate of 164.65.
Competing for his spot? No-one. The only debate (as tends to be the case every year) will be over where Buttler should bat. He has found a home opening the batting in recent times, but some still argue he is best used down the order to finish off an innings or see his team home in a run chase.
2. Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
How much did he cost? £250,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: None.
What can we expect? Bairstow is one of five England newbies to the IPL, and his tournament debut could not come at a better time - Bairstow is now firmly in the frame as one of England's World Cup opening batsmen, averaging over 50 and scoring six centuries since wrestling a starting spot in the 2017 summer. He has not quite yet nailed down a permanent place in the T20 team, but gave a glimpse of his talents in the shortest format by cracking a career-best 68 on the recent tour of the West Indies.
Competing for his spot? Bairstow has a job on his hands to get into the Sunrisers' stacked batting line-up! Captain Kane Williamson is a shoe-in, as is the returning David Warner. Martin Guptill, too, is an option at the top of the order.
3. Liam Livingstone (Rajasthan Royals)
How much did he cost? £55,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: None
What can we expect? Livingstone has just two international T20 appearances to his name, coming back in 2017 against South Africa, though his undeniable talent has seen him flirt with selection in all three formats on numerous more occasions. Perhaps a strong showing in the IPL can finally convince the England selectors? Rajasthan were certainly convinced enough to take a punt, most likely on the basis of Livingstone's blistering form in the 2018 Vitality Blast for Lancashire - 318 runs over seven innings, at an average of 45.42 and a staggering 188.16 strike rate.
Competing for his spot? Rajasthan's overseas spots seem pretty set in stone. But, of the IPL franchises set to be affected by players departing early for the World Cup, the Royals could be hit more than most - with Steve Smith, Buttler, Ben Stokes and, quite possibly, Jofra Archer all gone. It paves the way for Livingstone to make an impact late in the tournament, when the stakes could well be at their highest in the pursuit of a play-off run.
4. Joe Denly (Kolkata Knight Riders)
How much did he cost? £110,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: None.
What can we expect? Denly currently occupies a spot in the England Test team, but it was his white-ball form for Kent in 2018 that put him back on the selectors' radar. Denly averaged 70.28 in the Royal London One-Day Cup as Kent reached the final, while he fired 409 runs across 12 innings - including two fifties and a hundred - in the Vitality Blast. His part-time leg-spin also proved to be the most potent of weapons, taking a team-leading 20 wickets, at an average of 16.75 and 7.76 economy rate.
Competing for his spot? Chris Lynn, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine are virtual locks to start for the Knight Riders, leaving one spot up for grabs from the remaining overseas contingent. Carlos Brathwaite looks the likely pre-tournament favourite.
5. Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)
How much did he cost? £1.3m (approx)
IPL pedigree: The 2017 player of the tournament could not quite replicate his sensational form for Rising Pune Supergiants after joining up with Rajasthan in 2018. His batting average slipped from 31.60 to 16.33, managing a high score of only 45 in comparison to the magnificent unbeaten 103 he struck in a winning cause against the Gujarat Lions the previous year. With the ball, Stokes still had an impact, though, continuing to prove a handy bowler at the death.
What can we expect? For the Stokes of 2017 to re-emerge. Stokes simply has too much talent to go two IPL campaigns without making an impact. He is a man for the big occasion, and they do not come much bigger.
Competing for his spot? Much like Buttler, Stokes' spot for the Royals is virtually assured for his entire stint in the tournament. Even when things were not quite going to plan last year, Rajasthan stuck with their million-dollar man.
6. Sam Billings (Chennai Super Kings)
How much did he cost? £105,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: Billings is England's most experienced IPL head, preparing for his fourth-straight tournament. He was used sparingly by the Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) in the first two, but Chennai - his team again for 2019 - showed more faith last year, featuring him in 10 games on their way to the title. However, the run returns were not quite there as Billings averaged only 13.50.
What can we expect? Billings' disappointing 2018 was doubly frustrating given that it started so well, with the Kent man striking a crucial 56 off 23 - his only fifty - in seeing the Super Kings chase down 203 in his first game. Like Bairstow, though, he arrives in India in decent nick, hitting his career-best of 87 in the T20 series against the Windies.
Competing for his spot? Shane Watson, after his hundred-hitting heroics in last year's final will get a spot, as will key all-rounder Dwayne Bravo. Beyond that, Billings, international team-mate David Willey, Faf du Plessis, Mitchell Santner and Imran Tahir will all likely be rotated.
7. Moeen Ali (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
How much did he cost? £180,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: Moeen made his debut in the 2018 tournament, trotting out for RCB, but featured in only five games of their 14 as the star-studded franchise again flattered to deceive in missing the play-offs. Moeen took just three wickets, and smashed 65 of his 77 runs in one outing against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
What can we expect? Hopefully more of the cavalier-like performances he put in to inspire his Worcestershire Rapids to victory on Finals Day in the 2018 Vitality Blast. Moeen followed up 41 from 21 balls and 2-16 in the semi-final win over Lancashire with a three-for and another quickfire 41 in the final to sink Sussex.
Competing for his spot? AB de Villiers, naturally, claims one of the four overseas spots again, while Windies big-hitter Shimron Hetmyer is likely to start. Tim Southee and Nathan Coulter-Nile compete for the seamer's spot, leaving Mo likely battling it out with Marcus Stoinis and Colin de Grandhomme for the all-rounder position. His selection depends on spin-friendly surfaces.
8. Sam Curran (Kings XI Punjab)
How much did he cost? £800,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: None.
What can we expect? 2018 was quite the breakthrough year for the younger Curran brother, as Sam not only made his international debut, but he also played a major role in England's summer Test series win over India - performances that no doubt frustrated and impressed those watching back home in equal measure and contributed to his big-money IPL deal. Curran predominately did his damage wielding the willow, averaging 38.85 in a low-scoring series, which included two crucial fifties in nail-biting wins at Edgbaston and The Oval that helped swing the series in England's favour.
Competing for his spot? Given his lofty price tag, you would imagine Curran will find a home alongside Chris Gayle, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Andrew Tye in the Kings XI line-up. But Moises Henriques, David Miller and Nicholas Pooran are other options should Curran struggle to hit the ground running.
9. David Willey (Chennai Super Kings)
How much did he cost? £210,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: 'Blink and you'll miss it' is probably the best way to summarise Willey's IPL debut season for the Super Kings in 2018. He made only the three appearances, taking two wickets from his 10 overs - at a cost of 47.50 each, going at 9.5 runs an over.
What can we expect? More of the same, you would imagine, with Willey again likely to be used sparingly. He does, however, offer Chennai a left-arm variation that they do not otherwise have, and perhaps he could be used more as a pinch-hitting option with the bat. We all (well, certainly Sussex fans) remember his 40-ball hundred opening the batting for Northamptonshire in their 2015 T20 Blast quarter-final defeat of Sussex.
Competing for his spot? Willey likely does not start as first choice. If and when he does play, it might even come at the expense of his England buddy Billings as Chennai look to bolster their bowling options.
10. Jofra Archer (Rajasthan Royals)
How much did he cost? £760,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: Archer made his IPL debut in 2018, following on from an impressive Big Bash effort with the Hobart Hurricanes. And his fine form certainly carried over as he took 15 wickets at 21.66 apiece in his 10 games.
What can we expect? The almost mythical Archer continues to be talked up for a late call-up to the England World Cup squad, despite the fact he has yet to make his international debut and has only just qualified to play for his adopted country. But a similar tournament to 2018 will only add to his already compelling case for inclusion.
Competing for his spot? Archer will be one of the first names on the Rajasthan team sheet, along with his future international team-mates, Buttler and Stokes, and the returning Smith. Windies quick Oshane Thomas provides some competition waiting in the wings.
11. Harry Gurney (Kolkata Knight Riders)
How much did he cost? £85,000 (approx)
IPL pedigree: None
What can we expect? Much the same way as Archer did last year, Gurney bagged himself a lucrative IPL deal off the back of some impressive performances in the Big Bash, with the Nottinghamshire left-armer helping the Melbourne Renegades to a maiden title. Gurney took 10 wickets over nine games at an average of 24.40 a strike, while his economy rate was a lowly 7.17 an over.
Competing for his spot? (See Joe Denly). Likely to be waiting in the wings, warming the Kolkata bench, though the added dimension he brings as a left-armer likely helps his cause and at least earns him a handful of games.
Sky customers can watch the Indian Premier League live by tuning into Star Gold, available on channel 729.