It came as a surprise to learn that so many England players – 16 of the 24 who entered the two-day auction in Bangalore – went unsold during the weekend’s Indian Premier League (IPL) bidding.
One of the most curious cases was limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan, who has a wealth of IPL experience having featured in each edition since 2010.
The 31-year-old has played for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab, and, while his form has been mixed, he’s one of the best around when on top of his game.
Test captain Joe Root also went unsold after entering the auction for the first time and citing a desire not to get left behind as the white-ball game continues to evolve.
Root is one of the best players in the world so that too was a bit of a shock when the Yorkshireman, who will sit out England’s tri-series with Australia and New Zealand, failed to attract any bids.
Root’s T20 record is far superior to that of Australia captain Steve Smith, for instance, yet the latter was retained by Rajasthan Royals for £1.38m and the former did not attract a single bid.
Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales is another one who failed to land a deal despite being ranked the No8 batsman in the International Cricket Council’s T20 rankings.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler was signed but still went for the relatively bargain price of £485,000, even though he is an incredible talent and, in my eyes, a million-pound recruit.
It’s difficult to put your finger on why. Perhaps their base prices were too high or the franchises were wary of the availability of England players – this year they will depart two weeks prior to the final
Maybe politics comes into it too, given the past attitude of the England and Wales Cricket Board and the governing body frowning upon players wanting an IPL deal.
It could also simply boil down to timing. I daresay if the auction had come a few months ago then Jason Roy may have gone away empty-handed but his performances for England during their one-day series in Australia might have tipped the balance.
Being a player who has recently impressed cannot be underestimated and once again the IPL has thrown up a story in the form of Sussex seamer Jofra Archer.
The 22-year-old joined Hobart Hurricanes in Australia’s Big Bash in November as a late replacement for Tom Curran, after the Surrey man was called up to England’s Ashes squad, and he thrived.
He claimed wickets, demonstrated a mix of yorkers and bouncers – some clocking 94mph – fielded well and has subsequently been snapped up by Rajasthan Royals for £800,000.
Whenever I have seen Archer, I have been very impressed. He was born in Barbados and certainly resembles and old-style West Indies bowler who trots in and then whips it down with plenty of pace.
He has clearly produced performances at the right time and gone from earning probably around £30-40,000 a year at Sussex to a life-changing amount over a matter of weeks in India. Fair play to him.
That is what the IPL can do. It epitomises the excitement of the modern-day game and shows why youngsters grow up wanting to play T20 rather than Test cricket.