England opening batsman Tom Banton has said he would love to play the Indian Premier League (IPL), despite former England captain Michael Vaughan asking the England Cricket Board (ECB) to withdraw him from the upcoming season. Vaughan wants the youngster to play in the county Championship and make a claim for England's Test team.
Banton was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the upcoming season of the IPL for his base price of Rs1 crore. Speaking in an interview with a UK daily, Banton said: "Yes, 100% (I will be playing in the Indian Premier League). When I was growing up, the IPL was definitely something I thought I'd love to do and play for England in Test cricket as well."
Banton, who had a great season in the T20 blast last year, where he scored 540 runs at a strike rate of 160 in last summer, added that a good IPL season will also boost his chances of making it to the T20I World Cup squad this year. "Definitely, I'd love to be part of the World Cup. The white-ball team seems so strong at the moment but I'd love to go. We've got the IPL coming up, so some strong performances there are going to help," he said.
The explosive batsman was at his dynamic best for Brisbane Heat in their recently concluded campaign in the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL) season. The right-hander scored 223 runs in seven innings at a strike-rate of 176.98. He clubbed three half-centuries, which included a 16-ball 50 against Melbourne Stars. AB de Villiers, the former South African cricketer, replaced the Englishman after his departure.
He could miss as many as seven Somerset games if Kolkata reaches the final stages of the competition. He will play alongside the likes of other foreign imports like Sunil Narine and Andre Russell and Indian players like Dinesh Karthik and Kuldeep Yadav. Banton has played 12 first-class matches during his embryonic county career, averages just over 27 and has yet to make a century.
(Image credits: AP)