Rehan Ahmed set to enter IPL auction after England encouragement
Rehan Ahmed is hoping to continue his meteoric rise by earning a first Indian Premier League deal after England encouraged the teenager to keep his name in this week’s auction.
The 18-year-old leg-spinner became the country’s youngest ever men’s Test cricketer when he was picked for the final Test against Pakistan and rewarded that faith by setting up the tourists’ victory with a five-wicket haul in Karachi.
That alerted the wider cricketing world to his potential and came at the perfect time to draw attention in Friday’s IPL auction in Kerala.
The PA news agency understands that his county Leicestershire, who have worked closely with the England and Wales Cricket Board over the youngster’s schedule in the past year, were initially expecting him not to take part in this year’s tournament and to start the LV= Insurance County Championship season with them in April instead.
The club are supportive of Ahmed’s decision to remain in the auction.
But while that route was under discussion, with one eye on developing Ahmed’s red-ball skills ahead of a potential role in next summer’s Ashes, the decision was made to keep him in the frame for a contract with the Pakistan Super League no longer being considered.
One change was made to his IPL status, with his base price rising from around GBP 40,000 to an elevated GBP 50,000 following his eye-catching debut in Karachi, but his name was never withdrawn from the bidding shortlist.
Although Ahmed had only played three first-class matches for Leicestershire before his Test bow, the current England regime have taken a relaxed view on such matters.
Liam Livingstone was also picked for the Pakistan tour and handed a debut in Rawalpindi despite operating as a white-ball specialist for most of the last two years.
With captain Ben Stokes heading back into the auction hopeful of landing a bumper deal having missed the previous edition to focus on his leadership of the Test team and key players like Jonny Bairstow, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood all cleared for IPL duty, Ahmed’s potential participation would be unlikely to count against him in future selection.
Head coach Brendon McCullum, who has worked extensively in the IPL as player and coach, is also well aware of the possible benefits.
Speaking to BBC’s Test Match Special this week, he said: “It would be awesome if he did. I’ve been involved with the IPL a couple of times so sometimes it works out for guys and sometimes it doesn’t. Why not?
“Why not get an opportunity to go and play under different coaches and different captains and rub shoulders with different players and pick up those experiences? What 18-year-old kid anywhere else in world cricket is going to get those chances? I think we should encourage it.”
Ahmed has already shown his aptitude for the short-form game, impressing in the Vitality Blast and winning a Hundred deal with defending champions Southern Brave last summer.
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