One of the most surprising aspects of the recent Indian Premier League auction was the failure of Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara to win a contract for the competition although two of his county colleagues, Ryan ten Doeschate and newcomer Owais Shah, did attract successful bids.
Netherlands all-rounder ten Doeschate is linking up with the Kolkata Knight Riders, who paid $150,000 for his services, and he will become the first Dutch player to play in the competition.
Shah will play for the new IPL franchise, Kochi, who bought the new Essex signing from Middlesex for $200,000 in the auction.
Apart from Bopara, Essex all-rounder Graham Napier also misses out having been on the roster for Mumbai Indians for the past two seasons.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson has expressed mixed feelings after Bopara failed to attract interest from competing franchises although that does allow the 25-year-old to start the domestic season with his county side.
“We are all happy about having Ravi for the start of the season although I’m a little surprised he didn’t get a deal,” he said. Grayson also believes, meanwhile, that it gives Bopara every opportunity to stake his claim to win back his England Test place.
“Ravi will have six County Championship matches to get some big runs on the board – and wickets – before the first Test match against Sri Lanka on May 26,” he added.
“During that time, Eoin Morgan will be away after getting picked for the IPL and both Ravi and I have discussed that this will be good for his game with a chance to play his way into the Test squad.”
Shah and ten Doeschate will be available for the whole IPL season that starts on April 8 – the same day as the Championship – and is due to end on May 22, and Grayson is considering adding to his squad with the compensation money that will be available to the county for the absence of those two players.
“We are going to sit down soon to see whether we need someone for the start of the season or possibly wait to bring in some support in for the back end of the campaign,” he added.
“The loan market is another avenue to look at as I have been in contact with some of the counties with larger squads to see if there would be any suitable players available to bring in if need be.
“We were able to secure the services of Andy Carter from Nottinghamshire last season on loan and he came in and did a job for us, so if there were similar players available then we would certainly look into this possibility.
“But we have two top-quality international batsmen in Cookie (Alastair Cook) and Ravi for the first six matches of the season at least so we are not in a position where we desperately need to get people in to fill the gap created as a result of the unavailability of ten Doeschate and Shah.”