The IPL All-Star game is going to be the centre of attraction before the start of IPL 2020, but the timing of the game means that some of the star players, whom the fans would have liked to see in action, are likely to miss the much-anticipated affair as they would be on national duty at the time the match takes place in India.
The All-Star game is scheduled to take place on the 26th of March. While England will be in the middle of a Test series against Sri Lanka at that time, Australia will be playing a T20I series against New Zealand.
A couple of players who are a part of the English Test team are all-format players and they play in the IPL as well. They will certainly not be available.
Apart from the English, the trans-Tasman representation in the All-Star game won’t be much either, as most of the top T20 players from Australia and New Zealand will be involved in the T20 series which will be played between the two countries from 24th to 29th of March.
Also see - India New Zealand head to head
Here are the 4 players who might miss the IPL all-star game.
#4 Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler would have been a certainty in the North-East team if he was available for selection. But, the second match of the Test series between Sri Lanka and England starts from 27th of March, which means Buttler will not only be unavailable for the All-Star game, he will be unavailable for the first IPL match of the Rajasthan Royals as well. The swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman will travel to India only after the 31st of March.
Buttler has been a revelation in the IPL since he has started opening the batting for the Rajasthan Royals. He was not being able to make that much of an influence batting lower down the order, but he has grabbed the opportunity to bat at the top of the order with both hands.
The right-hander has scored 8 half-centuries in the last two editions of the IPL and has scored a total of 859 runs in 21 games, averaging more than 47. There is no doubt about the fact that Buttler would have set the stage ablaze if he was available for the All-Star match.
Note: All statistics as of February 12, 2020
#3 Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes didn’t have a great time in the IPL 2019, either with bat or ball, but the way he has played for England in all formats of the game in the last one year or so, it won’t be an overstatement to say that he is one of the best players in the world at the moment and would have been named in the North-East squad alongside Buttler.
However, Stokes, just like Buttler, is also a part of the England Test squad that has been named for the tour of Sri Lanka and won’t be able to mark his presence in the All-Star match.
Stokes was always known for his array of strokeplay, but the problem with him in the past was his consistency. He has played a couple of knocks here and there in the IPL which have made people sit back and applaud his breathtaking ability with the bat, but he has not done it on a consistent basis for his IPL teams.
However, the Rajasthan Royals would be expecting a fair bit of consistency from the all-rounder in IPL 2020, given the massive strides that he has made in international cricket in recent times. Stokes would have been a player to watch out for, in the IPL All-Star match.
#2 David Warner
David Warner missed IPL 2018 because of the ban, but he made a grand comeback to the tournament last year and finished as the top run-getter. It never seemed that Warner was away from the game for a period of 12 months, as he found his rhythm straight away and played a key role in guiding Sunrisers Hyderabad to the playoffs.
Warner scored close to 700 runs in IPL 2019 and then carried that form to international cricket as well. The 33-year old scored the most number of runs for Australia in the ODI World Cup 2019. Although he had a bit of a torrid time in the Ashes series in England thereafter, Warner made up for that with a triple century back home against Pakistan.
Given his form and stature, Warner was an automatic pick in the South-West squad and his absence will be felt in the IPL All-Star game. The former Aussie vice-captain has got a massive fan following in India and people would have loved to see him rub shoulders alongside the best T20 players in the world.
Warner will join his team Sunrisers Hyderabad a little late as he is likely to represent Australia in the T20I series against the Blackcaps which will finish on March 29.
#1 Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been named the captain of the Rajasthan Royals for IPL 2020 and he was also in line to be picked in the North-East squad for the IPL All-Star match.
Smith might actually have captained the North-East team as well if he was available. But he is also a regular feature in T20 cricket for Australia and will be playing against the Kiwis from March 24-29.
Smith’s form in the IPL was a little shaky last year which was understandable. While Warner got into his groove straightaway after his ban, it took Smith a little bit of time to find his touch with the bat. However, once he found it, he has been scoring heavily for Australia in all formats of the game.
Smith was the highest run-scorer for the Kangaroos in the recently concluded ODI series against India as well.
Smith could have batted at no. 3 for the North-East XI and could have held the innings together, while the other stroke players could have batted around him. However, he won’t be in action in the much anticipated All-Star match.
Also read: Franchise owners unhappy with All-Star game scheduling; tournament starting date to be discussed in ICC's board meeting