England news January 20, 2018

Wessels fails to make IPL auction as Blast feats go unnoticed

Riki Wessels is one of the Blast's most successful batsmen © Getty Images

Riki Wessels might be regarded as one of the most dangerous batsmen in the NatWest Blast but that has failed to impress the movers and shakers of the IPL.

Wessels is one of only three England-based players to fail to reach next weekend's auction stage in Bengaluru with as many as 24 county cricketers trying to catch the eye of one of the franchises.

As well as Wessels, Derbyshire's batsman Wayne Madsen and Monty Panesar, who attempted an ambitious comeback despite plying his trade in the Minor Counties these days for Bedfordshire, have also been excluded.

Wessels' name has been trimmed out of the IPL long list despite being a major factor in Nottinghamshire's progress to both limited-overs titles last season.

He has been among the most successful Blast batsman in the past three seasons, his 559 runs last season coming at an average of 43 and his strike rate at a personal all-time high of 151.49.

Such rejection is a familiar story for Wessels, 32, son of the former South Africa and Australia Test batsman, Kepler Wessels, a staider player altogether.

Son Riki pronounced his England credentials after gaining British citizenship in the summer of 2016, having initially entered county cricket on a controversial Entrepreneur Visa, but he has failed to win international honours.

England's professional system would struggle to survive the loss of 24 players in the first six weeks of a season given over exclusively to Championship cricket, but more than half are expected to go unsold.

Eight found IPL clubs in 2017, England's largest representation, and their reputation in limited-overs cricket has advanced since with a semi-final finish in the Champions Trophy and eye-catching displays against Australia as they have taken a 2-0 lead in the post-Ashes ODI series.

One England player who will be more frustrated than most will be David Willey. Willey has signalled that he may one day commit himself to a limited-overs future, but just at the time he needs to advertise his worth to IPL he has had to leave the Big Bash for England duties without managing to break into the final XI.

England hopefuls: Moeen Ali , Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Tom Helm, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Tymal Mills, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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