The 10th edition of the world's most lucrative, vibrant and best-known domestic Twenty20 cricket competition is set to get underway on Wednesday (5 April), with defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad opening the 2017 Indian Premier League season against injury-hit Royal Challengers Bangalore in a repeat of last year's final at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Telangana.
This year the number of English representatives has risen sharply, with six bought at a memorable auction and a further two retained from last season. With the start of IPL 10 now less than 24 hours away, IBTimes UK takes a brief look at the eight players flying the flag of St George this time around.
That number could have risen to 10, of course, had Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow not both gone unsold....
Team: Rising Pune Supergiants
Price: INR 14.5 crore (£1.7m)
Previous overseas T20 experience: Melbourne Renegades (BBL 2015)
Expectations: In a word, significant. All eyes will be fixed on the Durham firebrand to see if he can prove himself worthy of his status as the highest-paid international player in IPL history and the second biggest auction sale ever, behind Yuvraj Singh. Steve Smith's Supergiants, seventh-place finishers last year, certainly do not lack batting power entering their second season, with Stokes joining the likes of former captain MS Dhoni and Faf du Plessis in Maharashtra.
Team: Kings XI Punjab
Price: INR 2 crore (£240,000)
Role: Middle-order batsman
Previous overseas T20 experience: Royal Challengers Bangalore (IPL 2010), Kolkata Knight Riders (IPL 2011-13), Sydney Thunder (BBL 2013-14 and 2016) Sunrisers Hyderabad (IPL 2015-16), Peshawar Zalmi (PSL 2017)
Expectations: England's limited-overs captain will be among those experienced heads tasked with helping 2014 runners-up Kings XI Punjab recover from the embarrassment of successive wooden spoon finishes.
Team: Mumbai Indians
Previous overseas T20 experience: Melbourne Renegades (BBL 2013-14), Mumbai Indians (IPL 2016)
Expectations: Buttler scored 255 runs at a strike rate of 138.58 during his opening 14-game stint in the IPL and will be relied upon to assist the popular two-time champions – now coached by Mahela Jayawardene – in their quest to return to the play-offs after a one-year absence.
Team: Gujarat Lions
Price: INR 1 crore (£120,000)
Role: Opening batsman
Previous overseas T20 experience: Chittagong Kings (BPL 2012-13), Sydney Thunder (BBL 2015), Sydney Sixers (BBL 2016-17), Lahore Qalandars (PSL 2017)
Expectations: Having initially gone unsold at his first IPL auction, Roy was picked up in the second round by a Lions team hoping to improve upon an impressive maiden campaign, where they finished top of the IPL before losing two playoff matches. With Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith also in the building, Brad Hodge does not lack quality top-order options.
Team: Kolkata Knight Riders
Price: INR 4.2 crore (£500,000)
Previous overseas T20 experience: Sydney Thunder (BBL 2013), Wellington Firebirds (Super Smash 2012)
Expectations: Woakes has described his first IPL spell as a one-off opportunity that he could not turn down and a chance to further develop his much-improved death bowling skills. He joins Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Darren Bravo as the key additions to a Kolkata side that are searching for a third title. Andre Russell's absence due to a one-year suspension offers him a chance to shine.
Team: Delhi Daredevils
Previous overseas T20 experience: Islamabad United (PSL 2016), Sydney Sixers (BBL 2016-17), Delhi Daredevils (IPL 2016)
Expectations: Billings did not exactly set the IPL alight in 2016 – scoring 88 runs in only five matches – and will hope to improve upon that rather modest record this year having been retained by Delhi. One of the IPL's most consistent underachievers, the Daredevils have been rocked by the losses of South African duo Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy.
Team: Royal Challengers Bangalore
Price: INR 12 core (£1.4m)
Role: Fast bowler
Previous overseas T20 experience: Chittagong Vikings (BPL 2016), Auckland Aces (Super Smash 2016-17), Brisbane Heat (BBL 2017), Quetta Gladiators (PSL 2017)
Expectations: Having been diagnosed witha congenital back condition in 2015 that prohibits him from bowling in multi-day cricket, left-arm paceman Mills, whose reserve price was set at just £60,000, has carved out a successful career as a T20 gun for hire after previously contemplating retirement. Royal Challengers Bangalore will hope to reap the rewards from those formidably fast 90mph deliveries having won a stunning five-team bidding war for his services following the departure of Mitchell Starc.
Team: Sunrisers Hyderabad
Price: INR 50 lakh (£60,000)
Role: Fast bowler
Previous overseas T20 experience: Royal Challengers Bangalore (IPL 2016), Adelaide Strikers (BBL 2016), Peshawar Zalmi (PSL 2017)
Expectations: Bought at the second time of asking, Jordan will further reinforce an impressive bowling lineup already boasting Mustafizur Rahman, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashish Nehra. Can he help the Sunrisers become only the second team ever to retain their IPL crown?
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