England news January 29, 2014

Bell breaks ranks with IPL bid


'Bell, Pietersen only England Test regulars involved'

Ian Bell has risked the displeasure of England's team director Andy Flower by joining Kevin Pietersen as the only regular England Test players to put their names forward for the auction for this season's IPL.

Pietersen's Test career is held to be in doubt with both Flower, the team director, and Alastair Cook failing to pronounce that he is a part of England's "new era" - and the usual mutterings have been heard in some quarters about his passion for playing IPL.

That can hardly be held against him, however, when Bell, often presented as a model of professionalism, has also entered the auction - at a tempting price of only $160,000.

Bell, who was England's most successful batsman against Australia last summer, clearly feels that he can get his Test game into shape without the benefit of early season Championship matches. As England's season starts with limited-overs cricket against Sri Lanka, it is hard to fault his logic. It is also pertinent to note that he shares the same agents, Mission Sports, with Pietersen.

During negotiations about England's new central contracts, it was agreed in principle that the ECB would be supportive where possible of England players' ambitions to play IPL, which legitimises the ambitions of Bell and others to play in the tournament.

That has not stopped England from having meaningful discussions with their best younger players about where their responsibilities should lie. That has resulted in the absence of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler from the IPL hopefuls.

Both players would have been good IPL acquisitions but Stokes is at the start of what promises to be a successful and gruelling England career in all three formats and Buttler, whose T20 talents are already known, has ambitions to prove himself in the longer format of the game with strong Championship form with Lancashire.

Stuart Broad, England's T20 captain is another absentee, while Graeme Swann's brief mental dalliance with a season in IPL during his retirement media conference has not translated into action; his retirement now seems confirmed for good, with a media career lying in wait.

Arguably the two most aggrieved players in England's list could turn out to be Samit Patel and Alex Hales. The Nottinghamshire pair were released by their county as long as they earned a minimum of $400,000 - an attempt to measure their argument that they could not financially afford to ignore the tournament.

That figure has turned out to be high and has been cut to the auction ceiling of $320,000, but that still leaves Patel, in particular, seeming overpriced. Hales, one of the leading T20 batsmen in the world, should surely sell at that level.

Eleven England-qualified players are in the list, with Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright looking certain to pick up deals.

England players in IPL auction: Ian Bell (Warks), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Alex Hales (Notts), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Azhar Mahmood, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Eoin Morgan (Middx), Samit Patel (Notts), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Luke Wright (Sussex)

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on January 30, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    @ Harmony111 on (January 30, 2014, 13:57 GMT) Unfortunately Buttler is not going to be involved

  • Bhaskar on January 30, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    KP is welcome as he is going to rock in IPL

  • Harmon on January 30, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    IPL would certainly be a lot richer if someone like Bell is a part of it. My only worry is that Bell may be a bit too classy or graceful for this formant. I do believe he has all the shots in his game but I don't know if the franchises see him as a stroke player or as an accumulator. From the current Eng lot, I guess Morgan, Butler are sure shot selections. KP may get caught in the autopsy of Ashes. Others like Stokes should also get a good bid. Wright has a very good chance too.

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    I am not sure whether Bell will get any team or not, but I don't think its a good decision from Jos Buttler's side. He has not even proven him properly in limited overs game but he is going too far about thinking him as a Test player, but he is too ahead from being a test match probable. IPL might have increased his chances but anyhow he will regret this decision.

  • Nirmal on January 30, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    He will turn 33 in April, certainly looking to make some money before calling it a day.

  • Rahul on January 30, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    If the reports are true of Flower getting upset with anybody forget KP or Bell for participating in IPL then it borders on being ridiculous on Flowers part. These guys are on relentless treadmill for their country. Both are professionals of very high standard. How can you expect a professional player who earns his living from playing cricket being kept out of something that pays them in the highest bracket. No offense but has Flower accepted any pay cuts in his lucrative contract after a tour where half of his carefully built team has been dismantled. Guys have fallen ill, lost form and some have simply retired. In an era of professional cricket where their respective boards are trying their best to get highest bucks it is ludicrous to expect cricketers to not to earn that extra buck for their services. Many will cough and laugh but it was in IPL where Mitch Johnson came back from obscurity and found his mojo. May be playing in IPL is not that a bad idea after all cricket wise also.

  • Vikram on January 30, 2014, 4:22 GMT

    I don't understand whose professionalism is under question here - KP and Bell for fulfilling their board duties and putting in their 100% for their IPL side, or Flower and Cook who seem to be intent on finding some reason to boot KP out and made scapegoat for their recent spectacular failure.

  • Rob on January 30, 2014, 1:09 GMT

    Good luck to him, unlike many players you could genuinely say that playing in the IPL will improve his career. I think this could make a big difference to his ODI form. Definitely too good a player not to be a success - another Gambir or Marsh?

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    Bell tolls on the "Spirit of Nationalism". Now, it is all a matter of money, honey! At ICC level. At Individual Boards level. And, at players level.

    The poisonous seeds to kill the Spirit Of Nationalism, all over the county soils in the cricket-fertile-England, by the excessive import of the genetically modified seeds from across the world -- South Africa, Ireland, Zim, NZ, and where not! Often GM seeds are deadlier than the common weeds, in killing the home-variety sprouts.

    England, you reap the way you sow!

  • Francis on January 29, 2014, 22:47 GMT

    Selectors around the world (I'm looking at you Inverarity) have shown, time and time again, that they ignore FC performances and pick players who perform in limited overs.

    Probably it's time they got rid of the expensive FC comps. around the world since they are becoming less relevant to Test cricket, or just get rid of Test cricket and play 20/20s all year round like an MLB season.

    I'm sure the administrators like me will love it and "real" cricket fans will just have to get used to it. We are in a tiny minority anyway.

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