IPL Auction 2020: 5 English bowlers to watch out for

Ben Winfield

England's bowlers were vital to their World Cup success in July

One thing that England have always been able to produce are top seam bowlers in red-ball cricket, though that hasn’t always been the case in the shorter formats of the game.

In Test cricket, England are currently able to call on one of the finest new-ball partnerships that the game has ever seen. Between them, James Anderson and Stuart Broad have taken over 1000 Test wickets, and have been a vital part of any success that England have had in Tests over the past decade.

The pair have now been joined by Jofra Archer, who became available for England selection in March of this year. Since then, the Barbados-born quick bowler has looked like a natural at the international level.

In white-ball cricket, he was vital in helping England win the World Cup, bowling the Super Over in the victory over New Zealand in the final. He also made an impression in Test matches, particularly on debut when he bowled a memorable spell to Australia’s Steve Smith. 

But for the first time in a while, England appear to have a lot of genuinely quick bowlers available to them, especially those who have done the business in the white-ball game. With the World T20 in Australia coming up in November, a number of these could be looking to stake their case for a place in the squad, and an IPL stint could help do just that. Here are five English bowlers to watch in the IPL Auction. 

Also see – Ranji points table

#1 Saqib Mahmood

Mahmood made his England debut against New Zealand earlier this month

In Jofra Archer, England have finally found a bowler who can consistently reach 90 mph, and challenge batsmen with pace in all conditions. In Saqib Mahmood, they may have unearthed another one. The 22-year-old enjoyed a fine breakthrough season with Lancashire, which helped earn him a spot in England’s Test and T20 squads for the tour of New Zealand.

Mahmood was the highest wicket-taker in the Royal London One-Day Cup this year, claiming 28 scalps, as well as becoming the first Lancashire bowler to take five-wicket hauls in consecutive List A matches. Mahmood played three T20 internationals in that series with New Zealand, and although his figures weren’t too impressive, he wasn’t the only bowler to suffer playing on smaller grounds and flat surfaces.

#2 Tymal Mills

Mills spent the 2018 IPL season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore

Much like Mahmood, Mills’ most important weapon is his pace. The left-arm seamer has the ability to constantly bowl in the mid-90s, a skill that is effective in any form of cricket, anywhere in the world. Along with that, the 27-year-old bowls an excellent slower ball, which can prove very useful as a contrast to his electric pace. The Sussex bowler only plays in the shortest form of the game nowadays, as prolonged fitness troubles mean that he isn’t able to get through long spells of bowling. 

Mills also brings the ability to change up the angle, being a left armer, as well as being more than capable to come around the wicket to right-handers as well. Mills has played in the IPL before, having spent the 2018 season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he played in five matches, taking five wickets. In the right bowling attack, Mills could be an excellent buy for any IPL side.

#3 Mark Wood

Wood was the fastest bowler at this summer's World Cup

Wood was one of the unsung heroes of England’s World Cup triumph in the summer. The right-arm quick gave captain Eoin Morgan a different option throughout the innings, and he made vital contributions at the back end of the innings. The Durham seamer also bowled the fastest ball of the tournament, reaching 96 mph in the final against New Zealand, and his pace was a constant threat throughout the tournament.

The biggest problem for Wood so far in his international career has been injuries, so he may look to the IPL as a chance for him to build his fitness ahead of the English summer, as well as prove his credentials ahead of the World T20 in Australia in 2020. The 29-year-old is also a lot shorter than the likes of Jofra Archer and Mitchell Starc, who bowl a similar pace to Wood, so he does provide a very different bowling option.

#4 Pat Brown

Brown has a fine record with Worcestershire

While the three names on this list so far are all bowlers who have enjoyed success because of their quite remarkable pace, this is not the case for Brown though. The right-arm bowler rarely goes far above 80 mph, but has still had an awful lot of domestic success over the past couple of years.

In the 2018 Blast, he took 31 wickets in 16 matches, at least six more than any other bowler in the competition, as his Worcestershire Rapids side claimed their first T20 title. Brown didn’t enjoy quite the same level of success the following season but was still an important part of Worcestershire’s run to the final.  

The 21-year-old’s success comes almost entirely from his variations, and ability to make subtle changes to his pace, and that has helped him claim numerous wickets over the past couple of seasons. Brown is still young, so it is early for him to be thrown into the pressure valve of the IPL, but so far in his career, he has dealt with everything that has come his way.

#5 Matt Parkinson

Parkinson took four wickets in his second international t20 match

The only spinner on this list, and probably the next man in line if England turn to another spinner, either in Test cricket, or in T20s. Parkinson has also found himself in contention for England at a time when leg-spinners have never been valued higher, especially in white-ball cricket. Although he still has all the variations of the top leg spinners around right now, Parkinson bowls much slower, which can help to outfox the batsman and earn him a lot of wickets.

The 23-year-old made his international debut against New Zealand earlier this month and took five wickets in the two games that he played. The issue for Parkinson is that if bought in the auction, this will be the first time he has played in India, and we have seen a number of young spinners struggle on their first experience of playing in Asia. It may be that this tournament has come a year early for Parkinson, but he could still prove to be a great buy if given an opportunity.