Bairstow, Woakes and Malan withdraw from Indian Premier League action

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Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes and Dawid Malan (PA) (pa)
Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes and Dawid Malan (PA) (pa)

Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes and Dawid Malan have joined England teammate Jos Buttler in withdrawing from the Indian Premier League, which resumes next week.

A bulging winter schedule is on the horizon for the quartet, who have been selected as part of England’s provisional squad for the Twenty20 World Cup, which begins next month in the United Arab Emirates, while they are all in contention for Ashes berths.

Rajasthan Royals last month announced Buttler will be absent for the remainder of the IPL, which restarts on 19 September in the UAE after being suspended in May amid an exponential rise in Covid-19 cases in India.

Fellow wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow, seam-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes and Malan, the world’s number-one ranked T20 batsman, are understood to have pulled out as well.

Bairstow is the leading run-scorer for Sunrisers Hyderabad, but they sit bottom of the standings at the halfway point and seem unlikely to reach the knockout phases, while Woakes and Malan have only had bit-part roles with Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings respectively.

Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer are unavailable for the Royals, but there could still be 10 English representatives on show, with 2019 50-over World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan heading the pack as he skippers Kolkata Knight Riders.

Jason Roy, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, Sam and Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Sam Billings, and George Garton are also due to participate in the highly-lucrative T20 competition.

World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan (PA Archive)
World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan (PA Archive)

While all England players will fly commercial, Mumbai Indians announced captain Rohit Sharma, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and batsman Suryakumar Yadav arrived into Abu Dhabi on a private charter flight on Saturday morning.

The trio could have been involved in India’s fifth and final Test against England at Emirates Old Trafford, which was dramatically called off on Friday, just a couple of hours before play on day one, due to Covid-19 concerns in the tourists’ camp.

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison was alarmed at suggestions the IPL had been prioritised over a prestigious Test match, rejecting the idea the fear of missing out on the T20 tournament had caused the disquiet among India’s squad.

“Let me be super clear, I don’t think the IPL has anything to do with this,” he said on Friday afternoon. “This is not a situation which has been created by the rescheduled IPL, I fundamentally do not believe that for a second. This Indian cricket team are as passionate about Test cricket as fans in our country are.”

Meanwhile, Woakes and Malan, both of whom would have been likely to take the field at Manchester for England, could find themselves on opposing sides in the LV= Insurance County Championship on Sunday.

Woakes was included in Warwickshire’s squad for their Division One clash at Yorkshire, who have named Malan among their contingent for the four-day Headingley clash.

Somerset pair Jack Leach and Craig Overton are in the reckoning for the visit of Lancashire, while Dan Lawrence is available for Essex, who take on Surrey at the Kia Oval, where the hosts could include Ollie Pope in their line-up.

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