The IPL mid season transfer window has come and gone without even a hint of a possible movement of players in IPL 2018.
The decision to open up a transfer window in the middle of the tournament was made in order to add another dimension to the tournament and make things interesting during the middle of the nearly two-month long event.
The window was open from April 29 to May 10. The idea was that by that time most teams would have known what the core of their side was and also identified the players surplus to their requirements. Also, players warming the bench could get an opportunity to get game time.
However, the response has been poor to the extent of being non-existent. While there was bound to be some apprehension as it was the first time something like his was being tried in the IPL, the total radio silence over the transfer window has been astonishing.
Here are the main reasons why the idea failed to take off.
From the outset, it became clear franchises would get only a small pool of players to choose from. The rules stipulated that only those who played less than two matches at the half-way mark of the tournament could be traded. That meant not a single star India cricketer was eligible for transfer, leaving the teams to choose from a handful of foreign names like Ish Sodhi and a bunch of uncapped players.
Need for secrecy
According to a report in Mid Day, one of the reasons why franchises did not show any inclination to trade even uncapped players is because they feared team secrets could be revealed and that would affect their chances during the business end of the tournament.
The report quoted a franchise official as saying that “franchise may be reluctant to release the player to another franchise when technically only eight games are remaining in the league stage.”
Teams already proactive
Over the years, franchises know how to maximise their pool of players. Most teams start the tournament with a squad size ranging from 19 to 25 players. By the time the tournament gathers pace, franchises identify the players – especially the uncapped or local players – who are surplus to their requirements and release them, sometimes as early as the third week, to save on costs.
THE WAY FORWARD
Put all players in the pool
If every player is eligible for a transfer, that would make things interesting. Franchises might still be worried about teams secrets but there could be the possibility of a team that is nearly out of contention trading a big player to a team still in the race. Also, players who are not being utilised properly by their franchise would be inclined to go to a team where they will be guaranteed proper exposure.
Keep it open throughout the IPL
Since the IPL itself is a little under two months long and matches are played daily, team requirements change in a matter of days. What a team requires in the second week is completely different to what it needs after the fourth. If the transfer window remains open throughout, or at least up to the playoffs, then franchises will continue to show interest in the idea.
Mujeeb missed the previous game against Royal Challengers Bangalore as he had failed to recover from injury to his bowling hand. In the match against Bangalore, Kings XI batsmen lost the plot completely as the team were bowled out for a mere 88 to not only lose the match by 10 wickets but also damage their net run rate.
With just two more matches to go in the round-robin phase for Punjab, Ravi Ashwin will be inclined to field Mujeeb even if the bowler is half fit as defeat would put extraordinary pressure on the team for their final match – against Chennai Super Kings.
Mumbai Indians: Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (c), JP Duminy, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Karun Nair, Aaron Finch, Mayank Agarwal, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Axar Patel, Ravi Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot
Despite the likes of Test skipper Joe Root going unsold in the auctions, England are well-represented this year. With England’s Test series against Pakistan set to get underway on May 24, plenty of English names will be departing Indian shores soon.
Here, we rate the performance of the 13 Englishmen in the IPL this year.
SAM BILLINGS – CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
RATING – 4/10
Sam Billings’ IPL 2018 started with a bang with his match-winning knock of 56 from just 23 deliveries against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Since then, it has all gone downhill for the 26-year-old batsman with only one double-digit score (27) in the six subsequent innings for the Super Kings. Despite his failings, the right-hander is still finding a spot in the playing XI which speaks volumes about the lack of batting alternatives for the franchise.
MARK WOOD – CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
RATING – 3/10
Mark Wood got his first taste of the IPL this year after being picked up by the Super Kings. Unfortunately, it has been one to forget for the England pacer who played just one game before being dropped.
His lone outing came in the side’s win over Kolkata Knight Riders. Wood started off brilliantly, conceding only 11 runs in his opening two overs before being taken to the cleaners by Kolkata’s batsmen. The pacer ultimately ended with figures of 0-49 from his four overs and that meant the end of his days in the playing XI. The Englishman ultimately returned home to Durham after Lungi Ngidi came back into the side.
DAVID WILLEY – CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
RATING – 5/10
David Willey was brought in as late replacement by Chennai Super Kings after they lost Mitchell Santner and Kedar Jadhav to injury. The 29-year-old all-rounder has since played three games for the franchise although he is yet to put in any notable performances.
He too started off well with figures of 1-24 from his four overs in his side’s win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. That has been followed by expensive spells of 0-24 (off two overs) and 1-47. Though he hasn’t been called into action with the bat, his bowling has been decent at best.
JASON ROY – DELHI DAREDEVILS
RATING – 4/10
Like Billings, Jason Roy’s IPL got off to a dream start as the England opener led Delhi Daredevils to a thrilling win over Mumbai Indians. Roy slammed an unbeaten 91 off 53 balls to help his side chase down the target of 195. However, just like Billings, Roy has since gone off the boil with a combined score of 29 runs in four subsequent innings.
LIAM PLUNKETT – DELHI DAREDEVILS
RATING – 6/10
The England pacer initially went unsold in the auction but was brought as a late replacement by the franchise for the injured Kagiso Rabada. Plunkett too, started the IPL with a bang with excellent figures of 3-17 in his side’s four-run loss to Kings XI Punjab.
The pacer has been up and down since then with three expensive outings thrown in among two economical spells. He has added just the one wicket to his three-wicket haul in the first match.
TOM CURRAN – KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
RATING – 5/10
It has been a season where both of Kolkata’s overseas pacers in Mitchell Johnson and Tom Curran have failed to fire. The Englishman has, at least, been among the wickets despite having an economy-rate of 11.6 from six outings.
Curran has managed to pick up six wickets in the five matches with his best performance coming in the side’s win over Rajasthan Royals where he ended up with figures of 2-19 from his two overs. He hasn’t completed his four-over spell in any match which is a testament to his below average showing.
JOFRA ARCHER – RAJASTHAN ROYALS
RATING – 8/10
The all-rounder is from the Caribbean but plays his cricket in England. Archer has lived up to his billing as one of the hottest prospects in T20 cricket. With some serious pace to burn, Archer has taken the art of bowling yorkers to a whole new level with some lethal toe-crushers.
Mixed with his cleverly disguised slower balls, Archer’s bowling has been a nightmare for many teams. The 23-year-old has picked up 13 wickets in eight outings at an economy-rate of 8.23 including a best of 3-22 against the Mumbai Indians. The all-rounder has been disappointing with the bat though with only 15 runs at an average of under four runs an over.
JOS BUTTLER – RAJASTHAN ROYALS
RATING – 9/10
Jos Buttler has without doubt been the best England player this year in the IPL. He started off slowly but ever since he was promoted to open the batting, Buttler has been unstoppable.
The 27-year-old equalled Virender Sehwag’s IPL record of five-consecutive fifties and has single-handedly carried the Royals’ batting this year. His tally of 548 runs in 13 innings at an average of 54.80 and a strike-rate of over 155 saw the right-hander earn an England Test recall for the first-time since December, 2016.
BEN STOKES – RAJASTHAN ROYALS
RATING – 6/10
Ben Stokes came into the IPL this year as the most expensive overseas purchase but his performances have been anything near the level expected from the star all-rounder.
While he has been decent at best with the ball (eight wickets from 13 matches at an economy-rate of 8.19), Stokes has been pretty ordinary with the bat. The Englishman has managed to score just 196 runs in 13 innings at a dismal average of 16.33 with two knocks of 40 odd being his only decent returns.
CHRIS WOAKES – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
RATING – 5/10
The England all-rounder started his IPL campaign in impressive fashion with figures of 3-36 and 2-36 in his first two outings. That was followed by two expensive performances (2-47 and 0-40) which saw Woakes being moved out of the Royal Challengers playing XI.
His eight wickets in five matches have come at an economy-rate of 10.36 while he has hardly been called into action with the bat.
MOEEN ALI – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
RATING – 6/10
Moeen Ali has had to warm the bench for his side’s first nine fixtures this season. The all-rounder has now enjoyed a run of three consecutive appearances for the Royal Challengers in which the side has gone on to win on two occasions.
He has been highly miserly with his off-spin which has fetched him two wickets in three games at an economy-rate of 6.21. It is his batting which has been a major let-down so far with only 11 runs in two innings.
ALEX HALES – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
RATING – 6/10
It was only in the second-half of this year’s IPL that Alex Hales was given a role in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s playing XI. He started off with two explosive knocks of 45 runs each against Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils but his performances have tapered off since.
Hales has only managed to score 21 runs in three subsequent innings for the franchise.
CHRIS JORDAN – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
RATING – NA
Chris Jordan’s IPL this year has been one to forget too but only for reasons beyond his control. The 29-year-old featured in only one match for the franchise where he finished with respectable figures of 0-31 from his four overs.
Since then, Jordan has not got a single look-in due to the riches at Hyderabad’s disposal and has been warming the bench.