As the carnival otherwise known as the Indian Premier League player auction began yesterday, England's coach, Andy Flower, reflected on the difficulties it presented for international cricket.
"The IPL is a tricky subject for us," he said. "I personally don't blame any of the players for wanting to go there and play. But it is tricky because the schedules are so heavy and rest is sometimes as important as the hard training that we put them through, especially for our front-line attack."
He need not have worried. England might be World Twenty20 champions and possess some of the most accomplished practitioners of the game but the bizarre bazaar took a sceptical view. Since most of the English are unlikely to be available for the entire tournament, they were overlooked.
Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson and Luke Wright all failed to attract any offers. Kevin Pietersen went for $650,000 (£418,000) to Deccan Chargers, Stuart Broad for $400,000 to Kings XI Punjab, those sums being the wages they will be paid for each of the next three IPL years. Pietersen's price was less than half the $1.55m bid of two years ago, a measure of his waning star.
Flower will be pleased about Anderson. The fast bowler has left the tour of Australia temporarily because the management rightly feels he needs a rest after playing five Tests in seven weeks. But it would have looked strange if Anderson had then gone to the IPL. Flower said that there were potential conflicts of interest.
He was adamant that if players needed to be rested during IPL they would be, because they remain under central contract. But he must be aware of the potential for jealousy in the camp between the haves and have-nots.
"I don't blame them for looking for that pay day," he said. "The policy at the moment is to make our international players available for IPL and unless there is significant danger of injury then we will be doing that."Reuse content