Authors: Rio Sports
Jos Buttler has agreed a contract understood to be worth £200,000 to play in the Bangladesh Premier League in November – a move that will hinge on whether England give permission on security grounds or select him as their reserve wicketkeeper for the Ashes.
Buttler, who has agreed to join Comilla Victorians, impressed when captaining England on the one-day leg of their Bangladesh tour last winter in the absence of Eoin Morgan and is one of a number of the white-ball squad to have been approached by the Twenty20 competition.
Organisers for the BPL, the fifth season of which begins on 2 November, have been forced to increase the value of their contracts this year – and offer players money up front – to trump those available in the new South African Global T20 League that starts only two days later.
Signing a leading international such as Buttler before the South African league’s draft on 26 August is a coup for the BPL and he will be joined in the tournament by his England team-mate David Willey, who has similarly agreed a deal in principle with the Rangpur Riders.
That Rangpur’s coach is Tom Moody – also in charge at the Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad – is understood to be as relevant to Willey choosing Bangladesh over South Africa as the money on offer. His fellow Yorkshire and England seamer Liam Plunkett is also mulling an offer from a BPL franchise.
Other members of England’s one-day side will head in a different direction, with the captain, Morgan, and Jason Roy already signed up as marquee players for the South African league. Alex Hales and Mark Wood have also put their names forward for this draft, despite both being hopeful of involvement in the Ashes tour that gets under way from the start of November.
Buttler is similarly still keen to stay in the Test frame and was the reserve wicketkeeper behind Jonny Bairstow last winter, playing the final three matches of the 4-0 defeat to India as a specialist batsman at No7. But he has not kept wicket during his fleeting first-class appearances for Lancashire this summer, while Surrey’s Ben Foakes has trained with the England team.
Selection for Foakes, who England view as the best gloveman in the country, would allow Buttler to fulfil his contract in Bangladesh, while a deal in the Big Bash League, which takes place either side of Christmas before England’s one-day series in Australia in January, is also expected.
With a £400,000 contract at the IPL champions Mumbai Indians already agreed, the 26-year-old’s career may yet turn to full white-ball specialism before long.
Whether England release their players for domestic cricket in Bangladesh will once again depend on the security situation. Last year the Professional Cricketers’ Association advised its members against taking part in the BPL on the basis that it would not have the same level of protection as for an international tour.
Liam Dawson, Samit Patel and Riki Wessels were among a number of county players to travel anyway as the tournament, like the England tour that preceded it, passed without incident.
Buttler, Willey and Plunkett are centrally contracted white-ball cricketers and would need approval from Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, as well as their counties.
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