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England players could miss New Zealand Tests to play IPL knockouts

England’s leading multi-format cricketers, including Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler, could be forced to miss the two-Test series against New Zealand in June, due to a clash with the knock-out phases of this year’s IPL.

The trio, all of whom play for Rajasthan Royals, are the most prominent IPL players in England’s Test set-up, although Chris Woakes (Delhi Capitals), Sam Curran (Chennai Super Kings) and Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad) could also be affected if their respective franchises reach the final four of the competition.

Mark Wood is another potential absentee, if he gets picked up in Thursday’s IPL player auction, as is Moeen Ali, who was released by Royal Challengers Bangalore at the end of last season, and whose absence from the final two Tests of the ongoing India tour is due, in part, to the prospect of two further months away from home if he is signed by another franchise.

Currently, the IPL has yet to announce either the dates for this year’s tournament, or the venue, but it is likely to be held in India, starting around April 10 through to the first week of June.

That would have implications for England’s build-up to their two-Test series against New Zealand, which is scheduled between June 2-14 and is not a part of the World Test Championship, having been added to the ECB’s summer schedule in mitigation for their likely absence from the WTC final, which is scheduled for June 18-22.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1252046.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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