English players may be left on shelf in IPL bidding battle

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The Independent Online

Anthony McGrath, prepare to be disappointed. The former Yorkshire captain, one of nine Englishman up for grabs in today's Indian Premier League auction, is likely to remain resolutely ungrabbed. He won't be alone, however: with 66 hopefuls and no more than 12 spots on IPL rosters to fill, there will be plenty of cricketers who do not win a contract.

Among them will be the majority of those eight English-based players – including Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann – currently crossing their fingers. One who has a better chance than most is Eoin Morgan, the Irishman who has impressed in England's one-day team. Morgan would be available for the majority of the IPL season (which runs from 12 March to 25 April), a factor that weighs almost as heavily in his favour as his inventive and flamboyant use of the bat.

At the top of most teams' must-buy lists will be Australia's Philip Hughes, Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi and West Indies' Kieron Pollard, all of whom have impressed in Twenty20.

The paucity of demand this year stems from the fullness of most franchises' rosters. Each of the eight sides are allowed 10 internationals, and most have got 10. Exceptions include Delhi, who have bought out Glenn McGrath's contract, and Chennai, who have lost Andrew Flintoff to knee surgery.

As is customary with the IPL, this year's auction is innovative. Franchises have a spending limit of $750,000 (£459,000), which raises the likelihood that certain players will attract more than one identical maximum bid. The IPL's solution is the "silent tie-breaker bid": whichever franchise bids more wins, with the excess cash going, perhaps controversially, to the IPL and not to the player.

Going, going... English IPL hopefuls

*Tim Bresnan Yorkshireman who has impressed recently as a member of England's one-day side. Reserve price: $100,000 (£61,000)

*Robert Key Captain of Kent, one of England's best Twenty20 sides. $100,000

*Anthony McGrath Has played four Tests for his country. $100,000

*Eoin Morgan One of England's brightest one-day stars. $200,000 (£122,000)

*Monty Panesar His star has dimmed in recent years: recently joined Sussex in an effort to turn things round. $100,000

*Mark Ramprakash The 40-year-old has been one of county cricket's best batsman for 15 years. $200,000

*Graeme Swann After Morgan, the likeliest to be picked: cannot play first three weeks of IPL season, though. $250,000 (£153,000)

*Jonathan Trott Had a poor Test series in South Africa and may struggle to attract a buyer. $100,000

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