A record number of England players will be taking part in this year's IPL (and that's without mentioning Jofra Archer, who is serving his qualification period). Here we look at five who could make a big impact in the world's most high-profile T20 league.
Ben Stokes Rajasthan Royals
Last year's Most Valuable Player, Stokes was back in the auction pot due to his team, Rising Pune Supergiant, not being involved. The returning Royals - one of the suspended franchises that Supergiant had replaced for two seasons - duly coughed up GBP1.37m (USD1.95m) for his services this time around, despite the uncertainty around his availability because of court proceedings in the UK. With his trial for affray pushed back to August, Stokes should now be available for most of the group stage (he will be due back in England on May 17 if named in the Test squad to face Pakistan), and will be aiming to live up to his hefty price tag with another campaign marked by aggressive hitting, canny bowling and spectacular fielding.
Jos Buttler Rajasthan Royals
Royals are likely to field two of England's most blockbuster talents in their starting XI, after signing Buttler for GBP480,000 (USD680,000). When the ECB began to relent in its opposition to the IPL - which encroaches on the English season - a couple of years ago, Buttler was among the first to blaze a trail, with Mumbai Indians. His two seasons in Mumbai blue were a qualified success (average: 25.09; strike rate: 145.98), although perhaps his most memorable contribution to their 2017 title win was dropping his towel while filming an Instagram video celebrating the moment of victory (Buttler's involvement was curtailed by England obligations). Has spent the winter widening his experience of T20 leagues around the world, with stints in Australia's Big Bash and the Bangladesh Premier League.
Alex Hales Sunrisers Hyderabad
Hales is one of the beneficiaries of the ball-tampering scandal that erupted last week, brought in by Sunrisers as a replacement for David Warner after the Australian was barred from this year's IPL. Despite initially missing out on selection at the auction in January, Hales decided to sign a white-ball only contract with his county, Nottinghamshire, in order to focus on the shorter formats; he was then selected from the reserve list to fill the hole in Sunrisers' line-up, although he has big shoes to fill - Warner captained the franchise to the title in 2016 and was the tournament's leading run-scorer last year. Hales went to the IPL in 2015, as an injury replacement for Mumbai, but did not play a game.
Chris Woakes Royal Challengers Bangalore
Although his GBP500,000 (USD700,000) signing by Kolkata Knight Riders in 2017 was slightly less eye-catching, in comparison to stratospheric deals for the likes of Stokes and Tymal Mills, Woakes enjoyed a quietly productive debut season in the competition. The allrounder finished joint-sixth on the wicket-takers' list, with 17 in 13 matches alongside an economy rate of 8.77, despite often bowling at the death. He has since credited playing with the expectation placed on overseas players at the IPL as a factor in his development as England's attack leader in white-ball cricket, and despite not being retained by KKR for 2018, his price was pushed up through the million-dollar barrier by Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are seeking their first title after several near-misses.
Mark Wood Chennai Super Kings
A raw quick with a reputation for larking about, Wood could be the joker in the pack when it comes to England's representatives at the IPL. Picked up on the cheap (by IPL standards) for GBP164,000 (USD234,000) in this year's auction, Wood will be joining another of the returning franchises and one of the competition's iconic names: CSK have twice been champions, four times runners-up and never failed to qualify from the group stage. The injury-prone Wood has only played 18 T20 games in his entire career, but provided a glimpse of what he is capable of when taking 4 for 25 - which included yorking Jonny Bairstow and giving Joe Root a fearful working-over - during the 2016 NatWest Blast semi-final.
Other England players involved: Jason Roy (Delhi Daredevils); Moeen Ali (Royal Challengers Bangalore); Sam Billings (Chennai Super Kings); Chris Jordan (Sunrisers Hyderabad); Tom Curran (Kolkata Knight Riders); Liam Plunkett (Delhi Daredevils)