Seventeen regional cricketers will line up in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 competition this season—although almost one-third of them are not in the current West Indies squad.
Jamaican bowling allrounder Odean Smith was today drafted by the Punjab Kings, coach Anil Kumble suggesting that he was suitably impressed with Smith’s showing with the ‘Maroon Men’.
His compatriot, Rovman Powell, might also credit his stunning, match-winning century against England in the recently concluded Betway T201 Series for his return to the IPL—after a five-year hiatus.
Powell is expected to provide his services in the middle order of the Delhi Capitals line-up.
However, contracts for the likes of 23-year-old Guyanese batsman Sherfane Rutherford show that there is more than one route into the IPL. Rutherford has not represented the West Indies in two years and his T20I record comprises six innings with no half-centuries and an average of 10.75.
Rutherford was selected by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, although ESPN cricket analysts do not see him as an automatic pick for the first XI, that squad including India star Virat Kohli and veteran South African batsman Faf du Plessis.
The current West Indies players who will line up in the 2022 IPL are Jason Holder, Kyle Mayers (both Lucknow Super Giants), Nicholas Pooran, Romario Sheppard (both Sunrisers Hyderabad), Kieron Pollard, Fabian Allen (both Mumbai Indians), Alzarri Joseph, Dominic Drakes (both Gujarat Titans), Powell (Delhi Capitals), and Smith (Punjab Kings).
Holder, Pooran, Pollard, Sheppard, Allen, Powell and Smith are all expected to feature visibly in IPL 2022 while Mayers, Joseph and Drakes seem likely to begin the season among the reserves.
Twenty-five-year-old star Guyanese batsman Shimron Hetmyer, who was omitted from West Indies’ series against England and India owing to ‘fitness issues’, was drafted for US$1.13 mil by the Rajasthan Royals.
(At the end of Day 1, Pooran, who cost Sunrisers US$1.43m, was the most expensive West Indies player, followed by Holder who went for US$1.16m.)
Dynamic 30-year-old Trinidad and Tobago opener Evin Lewis and 25-year-old St Vincent and the Grenadines pacer Obed McCoy were snapped up by the Super Giants and the Royals respectively, despite not having represented the West Indies for a variety of reasons since the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Retired allrounder Dwayne Bravo, 38, was reclaimed by the Chennai Super Kings while Sunil Narine and Andre Russell were among the four players retained by the Kolkata Knight Riders and therefore did not feature in the auction.
Pollard, the current West Indies white ball captain, was not a part of the auction either, having been one of the four players retained by the Mumbai Indians.
The 33-year-old Russell represented West Indies at the 2021 World Cup but has not played since, having made himself unavailable for the tour to Pakistan last December.
Narine, 33, has not worn the maroon cap since 2019 and seems unlikely to do so again—although he is believed to have belatedly made himself available to play at the 2021 World Cup, only to be overlooked since he had not submitted the compulsory fitness test results.
All ten IPL franchises have at least one West Indian on their roster.
(WI representation on IPL teams)
Chennai Super Kings: Dwayne Bravo.
Delhi Capitals: Rovman Powell.
Gujarat Titans: Alzarri Joseph, Dominic Drakes.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Andre Russell.
Lucknow Super Giants: Jason Holder, Kyle Mayers, Evin Lewis.
Mumbai Indians: Kieron Pollard, Fabian Allen.
Punjab Kings: Odean Smith.
Rajasthan Royals: Shimron Hetmyer, Obed McCoy.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Sherfane Rutherford.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Nicholas Pooran, Romario Sheppard.