International Cricket

IPL 2024 – LSG – David Willey to miss start of season for personal reasons

David Willey will miss the start of IPL 2024, where he was due to play for Lucknow Super Giants, due to personal reasons. The English left-arm seamer spent the last two IPL seasons with Royal Challengers Bangalore and was due to play for LSG this year after he was signed at his base price of INR 2 crore (£190,000 approx) in December’s auction in Dubai.
But Justin Langer, LSG’s new head coach, revealed on Wednesday that Willey would not be available for the start of the season, after spending the last two months on the road, representing Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and Multan Sultans in the ILT20 and the PSL respectively.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Willey has not yet been replaced in the squad and could yet travel to India at some stage in the tournament. But he has been away from home for most of the English winter, having played at the World Cup in India, and he returned to the UK after playing in Monday’s PSL final.

Willey is the second Englishman who is unavailable for the start of LSG’s season, after Mark Wood was pulled out by the ECB for the whole campaign to manage his workload ahead of the T20 World Cup. Wood has been replaced by Shamar Joseph, the West Indies fast bowler, while Willey has not yet been replaced.

“With Mark Wood pulling out of the tournament and also David Willey won’t be coming now either, that means we lack some experience,” Langer said, when asked about LSG’s pace attack. “But what I’ve also seen in the last couple of days is that we have enormous talent. Some of our guys have had some injuries but they all look very fit at the moment.

“They look fit and healthy and they’re very hungry, so we’ll just have to manage them well so that we can get them through and work through the whole tournament, not just the start of the tournament. We’ve got one overseas player up our sleeve if required, where we might be able to add some experience.”

Langer also name-checked the 21-year-old Delhi seamer Mayank Yadav as a genuine fast bowler who could provide some pace in Wood’s absence. “Mark Wood is a world-class bowler, isn’t he? And he pulled out after the auction, which is disappointing but this is the world we live in,” Langer said.

“We also have Shamar Joseph, we have Mayank who bowls with very good pace. Hopefully we can replace, not [Wood’s] experience, but his pace with Shamar Joseph and Mayank. He’ll be missed – of course he’ll be missed, he’s a world-class bowler – but this is the world we live in and we will adapt and we will be okay.”

LSG will travel to Jaipur this week ahead of their opening match of IPL 2024, against Rajasthan Royals in an afternoon game on Sunday.

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