Chris Woakes, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow have withdrawn from the Indian Premier League, choosing to put England first before a busy winter that features the T20 World Cup and the Ashes.
The collapse of the fifth Test between England and India at Old Trafford will see players from both sides flying to the United Arab Emirates this weekend to begin a six-day quarantine before the IPL restarts on 19 September. But while Moeen Ali and Sam Curran are the two players from England’s most recent Test squad set to travel, Bairstow, Woakes and Malan have told their franchises they are no longer available. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler had already withdrawn, while Jofra Archer is out until 2022 with an elbow injury.
In the case of Woakes, who played for Delhi Capitals before the IPL was paused in May due to Covid-19, the decision to turn down the second half of a £160,000 deal follows his selection for the T20 World Cup that begins in October. Woakes was seemingly not in England’s T20 plans earlier this year, not having featured for the short-form side since 2015, but he returned against Sri Lanka in June and was a key member of the 50-over World Cup-winning side in 2019.
Expected to be part of England’s Ashes plans from mid-November onwards – albeit with that tour still clouded in uncertainty – Woakes sees the next five weeks as a chance to spend time with family before up to four months on the road.
Malan’s withdrawal from Kings XI Punjab and his £150,000 contract is similarly prompted by a call-up he was not previously expecting, having returned to the Test side during the recent India series and entered England’s planning for the Ashes.
Bairstow, who was playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad on a £240,000 deal, is also believed to have withdrawn in response to the bulging schedule.
It leaves 10 England players set to feature in the IPL, with Moeen and Sam Curran joined by Tom Curran, George Garton, Eoin Morgan, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Liam Livingstone, Sam Billings and Jason Roy.