Josh Little has been bought at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction by defending champions Gujarat Titans, making him the first current Ireland international to earn an IPL contract.
Little, 23, was picked up by the Indian franchise for 4.4 crore (roughly €500,000) at Friday’s auction. The Titans engaged in a bidding war with Lucknow Super Giants for his services. The IPL runs from March 26th until May 28th 2023.
Being picked up to play in the world’s biggest domestic league caps a remarkable year for the Pembroke bowler. The second leading wicket taker in T20 internationals for 2022, Little also recorded the best figures by a male player in the Hundred and took a T20 World Cup hat-trick in November.
He has now been signed for a major franchise league twice this month having been selected by the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League draft on December 15th.
Little is just the second Irish-born player to make an IPL squad but the first current international. Eoin Morgan played for Kolkata Knight Riders but only after his switch to play for England.
Lining out for Gujarat will mean that Little misses game time for Ireland. In March, Ireland are due to tour Bangladesh, with a potential trip to Sri Lanka in April and the return visit of Bangladesh to follow in May.
Little will be available to play in the initial stages of the Bangladesh tour but, if a Test match does take place, Ireland’s first since 2019, Little will not play.
He will also miss the tour to Sri Lanka, also likely to include a Test match, but will return to an Irish jersey when Bangladesh visit in May.
Richard Holdsworth, high performance director for Cricket Ireland, described Little as “a hard-working and dedicated athlete ...
“Franchise cricket opportunities have become an increasing feature of modern-day cricket, so we remain somewhat flexible in our response to offers that arise, but in general we will maintain an Ireland-first policy when the potential for conflict arises.
“Our approach also allows us to blood new players who might not otherwise get game time for Ireland. Looking ahead, it will become ever-more important for us to expand our pool of players to accommodate the increasing quantity of fixtures happening at bilateral international, ICC Event and domestic franchise level.
“Everyone in Irish cricket wishes him well and it is indeed recognition not only for Josh, but Irish cricket itself that our players are now becoming well sought after by franchise leagues.”
Little himself added: “I look forward to playing under Hardik Pandya within such a high quality squad. I’m also looking forward to working with coach Ashish Nehra and would like to thank the management team at the Titans for believing in me.
“I have loved playing international cricket for Ireland – and that will always remain my priority, but to be able to learn and play in the IPL will be an incredible opportunity and thanks to Cricket Ireland for supporting me in this.”