It’s not yet two years since Gujarat Titans were founded and yet they begin the 2023 Indian Premier League defending a title won in extraordinary circumstances.
Titans’ entry last year caused a little consternation, but few expected them to go all the way by beating Rajasthan Royals in the final.
As expected, the format has been shaken up even further since then, with impact subs introduced this year. Teams will now be allowed to name up to four subs, one of whom can come on before the 14th over of an innings to replace one of the starting XI.
There will also be home and away fixtures once again, which was ditched when the competition moved to the UAE during Covid.
With the IPL back on track, and just four months on from the T20 World Cup, the representatives of champions England were always going to be at a premium in this year’s auction. Indeed, Sam Curran became the most expensive IPL player in history when the all-rounder signed for Punjab Kings for £1.85m.
In an Ashes year, the hype around English players is not all good news – Ben Stokes has decided to fulfil his Chennai Super Kings duties despite carrying a minor injury over from the Test series in New Zealand, though he does so with the blessing of the ECB and national coach Brendon McCullum. Stokes is CSK’s record signing and attracted the third-highest bid in the IPL.
Jofra Archer will also return. The fast bowler was a huge loss for Mumbai Indians in 2022 but he is fit again – England fans will just be hoping it stays that way.
Meanwhile, Joe Root was not picked in the initial draft but eventually made his way to Rajasthan Royals, where he will play alongside Jos Buttler. Root had long resisted the lure of the IPL while he focused on Tests, though since relinquishing the captaincy he had made it known he would consider playing franchise cricket.
The inaugural Women’s Premier League also begins this month, with seven England players picked – including 18-year-old Alice Capsey and 20-year-old Issy Wong, both of whom have already shown their prowess in limited-overs via The Hundred.
Nat Sciver-Brunt attracted the biggest price tag from Mumbai Indians at £320,000, while world No 1 T20 bowler Sophie Ecclestone joins UP Warriorz for £180,000.
Tammy Beaumont, Danni Wyatt and Katherine Sciver-Brunt were among those to miss out.
England players to watch
- Moeen Ali (Chennai Super Kings)
- Ben Stokes (Chennai Super Kings)
- Phil Salt (Delhi Capitals)
- Jofra Archier (Mumbai Indians)
- Jonny Bairstow (Punjab Kings)
- Liam Livingstone (Punjab Kings)
- Sam Curran (Punjab Kings)
- Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals)
- Joe Root (Rajasthan Royals)
- David Willey (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
- Reece Topley (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
- Will Jacks (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
- Harry Brook (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
- Adil Rashid (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
- Nat Sciver-Brunt (Mumbai Indians)
- Sophie Ecclestone (UP Warriorz)
- Sophia Dunkley (Gujarat Giants)
- Lauren Bell (UP Warriorz)
- Heather Knight (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
- Alice Capsey (Delhi Capitals)
- Issy Wong (Mumbai Indians)
How to watch the IPL
Women’s Premier League – Saturday 4 Mar 2023 – Sunday 26 March
Indian Premier League: Thursday 31 March – Sunday 28 May
TV channel/live stream: Sky Sports have the rights, with matches to be shown on either Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Cricket. You can also stream via the Sky Go app or with a NOW monthly pass, which costs £21