Tom Banton set for Indian Premier League gig with holders Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings having inquired into Somerset and England opener's availability ahead of next month's auction
Somerset opener Tom Banton could be in line for a lucrative IPL deal if initial overtures by two Indian franchises bear fruit at next month's auction in Kolkata.
The 20-year-old Banton, who was the leading English run-scorer in this summer's T20 Blast and is considered one of the hottest properties in the county game, is part of England's squad here in New Zealand for the five-match 20-over series.
And the Mail on Sunday understands that both Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians – the two most successful teams in the tournament's 12-year history, with seven titles between them – have inquired about Banton's availability ahead of the IPL's next edition in April.
Tom Banton has attracted the interest of two sides from the Indian Premier League
Holders Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have expressed an interest in recruiting him
If Banton is picked up at auction, ruling him out of the start of the new domestic season, it would complete a heady rise in which he has already been snapped up by Qalandars, who play in the UAE's T10 League, and Brisbane Heat in Australia's T20 Big Bash.
Banton made just 11 and six in the two warm-up games in Lincoln last week, but he hit his second ball for six, and during the summer his 360-degree batting invoked comparisons with Jos Buttler and Kevin Pietersen.
His T20 Blast haul of 549 runs at an average of 42 and a strike-rate of 161 was bettered only by his Pakistani county team-mate Azhar Ali, while only Worcestershire's Moeen Ali and Essex's Cameron Delport managed more than his 23 sixes.
And Banton was prolific in 50-over cricket too, smashing 454 during Somerset's successful Royal London Cup campaign.
Banton is currently away with England in their five-match T20I series against New Zealand
But his form is the T20 Blast and One-Day Cup in the summer is what has attracted the interest
Meanwhile, Worcestershire seamer Pat Brown has insisted he can be England's Twenty20 death bowler after an impressive debut during Friday's series opener in Christchurch. Brown conceded only six runs in the 20th over of the New Zealand innings, and removed top-scorer Ross Taylor – his maiden international wicket.
The experience confirmed in his own mind what he has learned in his first couple of years in county cricket – not least during the Royal London Cup semi-final defeat by Kent in 2018.
'We lost off my bowling in the last over, but that helped me become clear in what I wanted to achieve,' he said. 'Having that failure really spurred me on to be the man who gets us over the line next time.
'The main thing I learned was that I could operate under that sort of pressure, that I didn't shy away from it. I really loved being in that moment. As a death bowler, you've got to want to do it. If you don't fully commit, you get found out.'
Banton has already been picked up by franchises in the UAE and Australia
Meanwhile Pat Brown believes he can be England's T20I death bowler at next year's World Cup
Brown, still only 21, was the country's leading wicket-taker in the 2018 Blast, when his bowling on finals day inspired Worcestershire to victory: four wickets in the semi-final against Lancashire, then a parsimonious four overs for 15 in the final against Sussex.
His selection in New Zealand means he is missing his graduation ceremony after earning a 2:1 in business studies at Worcester University, but his aim now is to secure a place in England's T20 World Cup squad next year in Australia.
First, he is set to play for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash, replacing South African legend Dale Steyn when his stint ends in early January.
The Worcestershire seamer made an impressive debut on Friday in Christchurch
Brown has also earned a Big Bash contract after being picked up by Melbourne Stars
By then, he hopes to have convinced England's white-ball captain Eoin Morgan that he is worth the hype after a debut in which his full repertoire of variations remained mainly up his sleeve.
'It was kept fairly simple, in terms of what was working and who I was bowling at,' he said. 'There are definitely more tricks to come out of the box.'
The second game of the series was due to start at 2pm local time on Sunday (1am GMT) at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.