Bayliss won’t allow any risks to be taken over fitness of England’s IPL stars
Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes are among the England players who will be involved in the IPL.
Trevor Bayliss has promised to cast a protective eye on England’s Indian Premier League contingent and will not allow any chances to be taken with their fitness.
England players did not prove quite as popular in the IPL auction as some had predicted, with only eight of the 24 names in the draft getting picked up.
Test captain Joe Root and his one-day counterpart Eoin Morgan were among those who went unsold but those who did land a deal have committed to almost two months of sub-continental cricket in the middle of an already packed schedule.
The IPL begins on April 7 and occupies a rare break period in the English calendar, sandwiched between the tour of New Zealand and the start of the domestic campaign.
Demands are highest on all-rounders Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali as first-choice England players in all three formats, with Mark Wood’s injury record marking him out for special attention too.
Bayliss insists no risks will be taken with contracted players and is confident the England and Wales Cricket Board would not hesitate to withdraw them if necessary.
“We have important series on the way and if they have to come back early then they will,” he said.
“If they have niggles they will not go. If someone gets a bit of a niggle while they are there we will pull them back.”
That, though, would go against Bayliss’ best intentions. As a former IPL coach with Kolkata Knight Riders and someone who is well attuned to the benefits of the domestic T20 circuit, he has been a driving force behind the increased availability of England players.
And Stokes’ experiences last year, when he was voted tournament MVP with Rising Pune Supergiant, make him even more convinced about the potential gains.
“If we look at Stokes he was on fire last year,” said Bayliss.
“I’m not saying that will happen to everybody, but the way he batted when he came back it was a step up in class from where he was before.
“It is a learning curve for everyone. But just the experience they get playing in some of these tournaments against some of the best players in the world, with different coaches in different environments with big crowds is huge. I think in the past the English players have missed out on that.”
Jos Buttler, Sam Billings, Jason Roy and Chris Jordan are the four limited-overs specialists who landed contracts and will be available for the entire tournament unless required for Test duty.
The quartet are currently in Australia, where England are preparing to follow up their 4-1 one-day series win over the hosts with a T20 tri-series also involving New Zealand.
They play a warm-up match in Canberra against a Prime Minister’s XI, captained by Ashes-winning spinner Nathan Lyon, before taking on Australia in Hobart next Wednesday.