England may have lost the Test series badly, unable to put up any resistance, but the T20 International side that will take the field here at the Narendra Modi Stadium from Friday in the five-match series will likely give India a tough fight.
Besides being packed with white-ball cricket specialists, the 16-member T20I squad comprises 13 players who have experience in the Indian Premier League with the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan being the match-winners in their respective sides.
England are among the toughest sides in white-ball cricket primarily because they have some big-hitters that are in huge demand in the T20 franchise leagues, especially IPL.
In many ways, they have surpassed the Australians and South Africans for giving hard-hitters and X-factor players for the IPL sides.
It came as no surprise that many top English players were retained by their respective IPL franchises ahead of this season and even among those released, Moeen Ali was bought for as big a sum as Rs 7 crore.
All-rounder Sam Curran, who represent Chennai Super Kings had admitted that IPL in 2020 in UAE helped him become a better player.
“I definitely felt I came back a much better player from the IPL last year. I think it’s benefited my game,” said Curran.
Only Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid and Reece Topley among the squad of 16 have no IPL experience but Malan too has a contract this year. The left-handed batsman is the world’s top T20I batsman and it was no surprise that Punjab Kings splurged Rs 1.5 crore for him.
England players being in huge demand was also exemplified well with batting all-rounder Liam Livingstone being picked at the auction this year. The 27-year-old, who has played just two T20 Internationals back in 2017, was bought by Rajasthan Royals for this season following a brief stint in 2019.
He had a great Big Bash League where he scored 426 runs and hit 28 sixes for Perth Scorchers. That helped him return to the England side after well over three years as well make an IPL comeback after two years.
He had played just four games in 2019 but he exemplifies England players’ growing interest in the T20 format.
“I am a different player and a different person from back then (2017). The experience that you get by playing franchise cricket around the world is pretty valuable when you come back to playing international cricket,” said Livingstone while speaking to the media on Wednesday.
“For the first time in my career, I feel I belong to this environment. I was pretty immature back then. I am back to enjoying my cricket,” the opening batsman added.