The IPL began in 2008 but English players only started playing the IPL regularly in the last couple of years. In the early years of the IPL, the ECB and the England cricket players weren’t keen on playing the IPL.
One of the main reasons for that was the start of their county season was clashing with the end of the IPL. Also, England used to have some international matches towards the end of the IPL.
So, when the IPL started there were many players from Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, and South Africa but very few from England. Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff were the only two notable England players at that time. But some lesser-known English players once played in the IPL.
Let’s have a look at three England Players you might not know once played in the IPL.
#3 Graham Napier
Graham Napier is a fast-bowling all-rounder who used to play for Essex. He never played international cricket for England but got a chance to feature in the IPL and play alongside Sachin Tendulkar.
Napier was known for his fast bowling as he used to bowl at a speed of more than 140 KMPH. He had a slower ball in his armory which he used in the shortest format. In June 2008, he smashed 152 not out off just 58 balls which helped him get an IPL contract.
In 2009 he was signed up by Mumbai Indians, being one of the few English players to be a part of the IPL. In the whole season, he got to play only one game in which he scored 15 runs and picked up a wicket in his four overs.
He never played in the IPL after that but he will remain one of the few English players who came to the IPL in the early years.
#2 Owais Shah
Owais Shah was a right-handed middle-order batsman who had a decent career at the international level. He represented England in all three formats and even played in the IPL.
Shah was a part of three teams in the IPL. He represented Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kochi Tuskers Kerala. He was part of the KKR team in 2010 where he only played 5 matches but had an average of 57.5.
In 2011, he moved to KTK, where he played only 3 games, and then in the next two years, he was part of the RR team. He played 15 games, scoring 365 runs at an average of 33.18 for RR.
Shah had decent success in the IPL but being an overseas player, one needs to do more to stay in the team.
#1 Ravi Bopara
Ravi Bopara is a batting all-rounder who has played for Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL. Just like Owais Shah, he has represented England in all three formats and has done fairly well.
In 2009 he started playing for KXIP where he played 15 games over a couple of seasons. He scored three fifties with a highest score of 84 for KXIP. In 2015 he was picked up by SRH where he got to play 9 games but couldn’t do anything special.
Since then he plays in many other T20 leagues but hasn’t got the opportunity to play in the IPL again.