England fast bowler Liam Plunkett will replace the injured Kagiso Rabada in the Delhi Daredevils squad for the 2018 season of the IPL. Plunkett entry takes the number of England players in the IPL to 11, with Jofra Archer – who is qualifying to play for England – the 12th.
Rabada, who was Player of the Test series against Australia for taking 23 wickets, was sidelined by a back-stress reaction and was expected to be out of action for three months. He is expected to make a comeback for South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka in July.
Plunkett, 33, had a base price of INR 2 crore (USD 308,000 approx) at the 2018 player auction in January, where he went unsold. Daredevils bought him at that price, having paid INR 4.2 crore (USD 647,000 approx) for Rabada at the auction.
This will be Plunkett’s first appearance at the IPL, with England players increasingly attractive after the ECB changed its stance towards the competition, despite the overlap with the county season. Plunkett is unlikely to be involved in England’s Test squad against Pakistan next month, so could theoretically stay with Daredevils for the whole of the tournament.
His absence might raise an eyebrow or two in Yorkshire, however. Plunkett injured a hamstring while on duty for England in Australia and New Zealand over the winter and was not expected to be fit for Yorkshire’s Championship opener next week – although the demands of bowling four T20 overs are different to spending four days on the field.
Plunkett recently indicated that he wanted to continue playing first-class cricket – rather than pursue a white-ball contract like Yorkshire and England team-mate Adil Rashid – but a spell in the IPL is likely to be both financially and professionally rewarding for a bowler who has become a key part of England’s limited-overs sides.
Yorkshire were happy for Plunkett to appear in the Bangladesh Premier League last year and will benefit from a slice of his IPL deal, but the situation for counties is far from ideal. The club’s director of cricket of cricket, Martyn Moxon, is set to chair a meeting between county coaches next week to discuss the issue of players’ involvement in global T20 leagues.
“It’s another example of us being between a rock and a hard place,” Moxon told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “Surrey have had the same thing with Tom Curran [signed this week by Kolkata Knight Riders as a replacement for Mitchell Starc].
“What do you do, stop a player going and earning a shed-load of money and have him disappointed around the dressing room for not allowing him to go, etc? It’s a lose-lose really for the counties, and it’s one of the items that we’ll be discussing on Tuesday because, as counties, we feel powerless at the moment.”