Nathan Johns

Half of Josh Little‘s Christmas wish list has come early. With the PSL draft and IPL auction both taking place in December, the contents of his letter to Father Christmas seem obvious.

The Irish fast bowler could not have timed his run into what could be the most financially rewarding month of his career any better. After finishing the international summer well against Afghanistan, he garnered further attention with the best spell by a male player in the Hundred, 5-13 playing for the Manchester Originals. He followed that up with 11 wickets at the T20 World Cup, including a hat-trick against New Zealand.

Throw in a good outing at the recent T10 and Little’s global stock has never been higher. At last week’s PSL draft, the Multan Sultans agreed, using a platinum pick to secure his services for the 2023 edition. He will be just the second Irishman not named Eoin Morgan to play in the PSL. The last remaining Christmas question is; will he become the first to be picked up at an IPL auction?

“To go to the IPL would be amazing,” admits Little. “I’m not really thinking about flying the Irish flag, I’m just shocked there’s a chance I could go. There are a couple of teams interested but we’ll see, a lot of things can change between now and then.”

It seems the only thing that could hinder the 23-year-old is availability. On the FTP, Ireland have three potential series pencilled in – though as of yet unconfirmed – against Bangladesh (twice) and Sri Lanka during the IPL window. If Little still gets picked up, it would be his second exposure to the tournament having been a net bowler at CSK last season, albeit the experience did not live up to his expectations.

“I was told it was something it wasn’t,” he explains. “I was told before I went that I’m a net bowler and if someone gets injured then there’s a chance I play. But I couldn’t bowl when I wanted, I’d get two overs [in training] and think, ‘Two overs, I’m halfway across the world here!’ Maybe I was naive because I played in the Lankan Premier League and T10, I had a good year behind me.

“I’m an international cricketer, it didn’t seem right. The other guys were keen to get involved because they never had that sort of exposure. When I found out I was a net bowler that was required to bowl at someone when the slingers were tired, I was like ‘get me out of here’ – which is probably why they’ll never have me back because I left after two weeks.”

Little’s performances since then certainly backed up that self-belief. As pleasing as the World Cup hat-trick was, it came in a losing effort against the Kiwis. Besides, Little quickly had teammate Curtis Campher, who famously took four wickets in as many balls against the Netherlands at the 2021 World Cup, reminding him his achievement wasn’t even the best bowling display by an Irishman at a global event.

“When I was on the hat-trick, Curtis put his arm round me and said, ‘Only real legends get four in four,'” admits Little with a smile. “It still hasn’t sunk in, it feels weird when you see a stat that only six people [men] have ever taken a T20 World Cup hat-trick.”

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