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Stokes and Root headline England contingent at IPL auction

Sussex star Jofra Archer also tipped for big deal after BBL heroics.

England could be better represented than ever before in this season’s Indian Premier League, with 24 players listed in this weekend’s auction.

Ben Stokes last year made history as the most expensive overseas player in the competition’s history when he signed a £1.7million deal with Rising Pune Supergiant, with Tymal Mills not far behind at £1.4m and Chris Woakes earning a cool £500,000.

Stokes is again listed as one of the 16 marquee players this time around despite a pending court date in relation to his September arrest for affray, with the IPL guaranteeing he can be replaced but only if he is ruled out for the whole tournament.

He is joined in the elite pot by England’s Test captain Joe Root, whose decision to sit out the Twenty20 Tri-Series against Australia and New Zealand and enter the auction has caused some consternation.

“I hate missing games of cricket for England. It is something that doesn’t really sit well with me either,” Root admitted earlier this week.

The Yorkshireman’s base price is just behind that of Stokes at 1.5 crore rupees, or around £165,000, and he said: “Of course there is a money side to it, there is no point lying about it, but it’s not why I went into the auction.

“I really believe playing a block of Twenty20 cricket with that scrutiny, being under pressure for long periods of time against the world’s best players in that format, would be a great opportunity to develop my white-ball game. You almost have to look at it as more of an investment for my game and for all the England team.”

Woakes shares that view and said of Root: “He’s one of the best three or four batsmen in the world but he is always trying to learn how to play new shots and improve his game. That is what I’m sure he’ll do if goes and I’m sure he’ll be a success.”

Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and Moeen Ali are among the other England internationals in the auction, though the latter admits: “I’ve put my name in but at the moment I’m thinking I’m not going to get in. If I do get in it’s a massive bonus.”

Mills headlines a selection of county players also including fellow paceman Tom Helm and batsman Joe Denly but in addition to the two dozen England-registered players, there is an intriguing wild card in Jofra Archer.

Sussex’s Barbadian paceman is in the process of qualifying to play for England and has lit up Australia’s Big Bash League with his scorching pace, death bowling nous and some eye-catching bits of fielding to boot.

A domestic T20 batting strike rate over 140 will do no harm to his prospects either and Archer seems set to blow away his £40,000-plus asking price and further enhance his growing reputation.

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