The 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to begin on March 31 and this time all things are expected to be bigger and better. But a reason for the IPL franchises to worry was the fact that many New Zealand players, who were integral parts of their teams in the cash-rich league were set to miss out for the initial few days, as they were going to be part of the ODI series against Sri Lanka. The Blackcaps will play Sri Lanka in a three-match series that ends on March 31.
Now, it looks like all plans have been changed and the franchises can also breathe a sigh of relief as New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has decided to release four star players to participate in the IPL. NZC has also decided to release their captain Kane Williamson before the ODI series so that he can spend more time with his franchise before the start of the IPL. Senior pacer Tim Southee, opener Devon Conway, and all-rounder Mitchell Santner are the three other players who will be released by the board in order to facilitate them playing in the IPL.
The Kiwis skipper Williamson was released by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) ahead of the IPL 2023 auction. One of the world’s top-class batters was picked up by reigning champions Gujarat Titans for a steal deal at his base price of Rs 2 crore in the mini auction. On the other hand, Conway is one of the most integral parts of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batting lineup. The left-handed opener has scored 252 runs for the franchise from 7 games in IPL 2022, thus emerging as one of the best openers in the league.
Santner also plays for CSK, and the 31-year-old cricketer will be a crucial player in the four-time champions’ bid for another successful IPL season. Tim Southee will play for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL 2023. On the other hand, Lockie Ferguson, Finn Allen, and Glenn Philips will only play the first ODI on March 25.
The right-arm seamer Ferguson will play for KKR after a swap deal with Gujarat Titans while Allen and Phillips will be part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad franchises respectively.
In the absence of Williamson, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has named Tom Latham as the skipper for the ODI series. The IPL starts on March 31 with a match between defending champions Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad.