Ben Stokes could be one of the biggest names to go under the hammer in the 2016 IPL auction in February. While all teams in the IPL would have loved Stokes in their franchise, the marauding left-hander might not be available for the entire length of the IPL, with England scheduled to face Sri Lanka in a Test series starting 19 May.
With IPL 2016 starting on 9 April, the England and Sri Lanka Test players will only be available for a few weeks -- taking into consideration preparation time for the series -- which means the IPL franchises are in a tricky situation – to pick or ignore the England and Sri Lanka cricketers -- in the IPL auctions in February.
Though the Test series only starts on 19 May, the English cricketers are expected to be back in England, around the last week of April or early May, and play at least one red-ball cricket match before the first Test. Such a scenario means it could be a loss-loss situation for both the player and teams, as someone like Stokes can light up the IPL with his ability with the bat and ball.
"The England schedule is a pretty big problem for franchises. Franchises want to find players who will be available for 100% of the tournament, and in England you have the Test matches in May," Delhi Daredevils chief executive, Hemant Dua, told the Evening Standard.
"It [ECB] will have to settle somewhere because over the years, as the IPL becomes bigger and more lucrative, there will be resistance from the players because they will be losing salary they could gain."
After a record-breaking knock of 258 runs in 198 balls against South Africa in the second Test in Cape Town, Ben Stokes would have been on the radar of most IPL teams.
"There is some good talent in England that might 'play' in India [in other circumstances]. Players like Stokes, Jos Buttler, a bunch of bowlers. But Stokes will be considered for the Test series against Sri Lanka, so that kind of takes him away completely," Dua added.
"If Stokes were available 100%, he would attract a lot of interest. He would definitely draw attention, not just him but a bunch of others. There are some good bowlers in there. So it is for the board to decide."
Not only Ben Stokes, other cricketers like Alex Hales and Stuart Broad could also miss IPL 2016 as they are also a part of the Test team. Eoin Morgan, who is not a part of the England Test setup, has been retained by the Sunrisers Hyderabad.