England’s limited overs skipper Eoin Morgan, on Friday (13 April), said that all-rounder Ben Stokes’ selection and then his outstanding display in the last Indian Premier League (IPL) has proved to be a major breakthrough for English cricketers, saying it "broke down barriers" for the lions.
In the IPL 2017, Stokes was bought for a mammoth INR 14.5 crore by the Rising Pune Supergiant and emerged as the costliest player of the season.
The Durham all-rounder also justified his selection by emerging as the Player of the Tournament with 316 runs, including a century, and 12 wickets. Stokes is also the costliest player this season as well, when Rajasthan Royals (RR) bid RS 11.5 Crore to acquire his services in the 11th edition of the IPL 2018.
Meanwhile, Morgan believes that Stokes’ success in the Indian T20 league paved the way for 12 England players in this season, including Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, David Willey, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Tom Curran, Jason Roy and Liam Plunkett also involved - a possible future England star, Jofra Archer, is on RR’ contention.
Morgan told Sky Cricket Podcast, “One of the big things that worked in our favour last year was Stokes going for a significant amount of money and proving he was worth that and more.”
He further added, “It broke down barriers. If anyone in Indian cricket had doubts about [English players] because of previous performances then last year would certainly have had a knock-on effect. It is a huge compliment to the way our individuals and the team have done for the last few years [that so many players are in the IPL]. We said we needed to play in more high-profile T20 tournaments, be exposed to high-pressure situations and the direction came from [England director of cricket] Andrew Strauss.”
Earlier, the English skipper has played for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the lucrative T20 league but this season he went unsold.
Morgan signed off by saying, “You feel lucky to be there - it's a real aspiration - and going out and performing is something that doesn't come easily to anybody. It's as high-pressured as a world tournament, and you have demands from sponsors, owners, captains, and coaches - it is a real learning curve for our players. It is a huge opportunity to learn as much as you can in pretty difficult situations - you deal with conditions outside of your comfort zone. You also play against the best players in the world in the biggest tournament in the world. It adds a lot of noise we are not used to.”