England opener Jason Roy is understood to have opted out of the 2020 IPL due to personal reasons. Roy, who represents Delhi Capitals, ESPNcricinfo has learned, will be replaced by Australian left-arm fast bowler Daniel Sams. The development came on the back of ECB announcing on Thursday that Roy had been ruled out of the T20I series against Pakistan due to a side strain he picked up this week.
While Roy would become the second Englishman to opt out of IPL, Sams will be the second fast bowler Captials have hired after the auction. Recently South Africa fast bowler Anrich Nortje replaced England allrounder Chris Woakes.
This will be Sams' first time in the IPL. The New South Wales quick made headlines for Sydney Thunder at the 2019-20 Big Bash League where he finished as the tournament's highest wicket-taker. That performance earned him an international call-up for Australia's white-ball tour of England in September. The tour, comprising three T20Is and three ODIs, will be played between September 4 and September 16, with the IPL starting three days later in the UAE.
"The IPL is a huge platform for any cricketer, and back home, we all follow the tournament extremely closely every year," Sams told the Delhi Capitals website. "I feel fortunate to be a part of it this year, and I'm thankful to the Delhi Capitals management for giving me this opportunity. I can't wait to join the rest of the players in the UAE."
Roy, who was bought back by Capitals in the most recent players' auction for his base price of INR 1.5 crore, is understood to be unavailable for this season. Neither the player nor Capitals have made a comment on the development.
In 2018, Capitals (then Daredevils) bought Roy for the first time at the same price, but released him for the 2019 season. During his time with Capitals, Roy played five matches scoring 120 runs at a strike rate of 127.65, with 91 of those runs came in his first innings of the tournament, but only 29 across his next four.
Roy has had a difficult 2020 summer with the bat, scoring 24, 0 and 1 in three innings during England's ODI series against Ireland. He then returned to county cricket, making 4 and 14 against Hampshire in the four-day Bob Willis Trophy.
Sams, a smart buy
Roy's absence is unlikely to hurt Capitals who made the play-offs last season for the first time since 2012 on the back of the success of their top order packed with Indians - Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant and captain Shreyas Iyer. Each of those batsmen played at least one match-winning innings in 2019. For the 2020 season, Capitals have another top-order option Ajinkya Rahane, who had been traded from Rajasthan Royals where he was the captain.
Sams could be a smart investment for Capitals who were previously lacking a left-arm fast bowler after trading New Zealand strike bowler Trent Boult to Mumbai Indians following the last IPL. Capitals also lacked a good fast bowler at the death, a phase where Sams sparkled in the most recent Big Bash League where he finished with a record 30 wickets for the Thunder. Half of those wickets came in the final five overs for Sams as he picked 15 wickets at an economy rate of 9.73.
Sams will not be part of Capitals' training camp which starts in Dubai from August 29. The group of players from England and Australia, featuring in IPL, are expected to join their respective franchise in the UAE on September 17.
Sanjeev Churiwala, the chairman of Royal Challegners Bangalore franchise, said last week that the England and Australia players are expected to skip the mandatory six-day quarantine meant for the rest of the squad as long as they cleared the stringent testing process.