Nine English players are expected to be included in the Indian Premier League auction later this month after league officials predictably abandoned a tactical threat to blacklist them because of doubts about their availability.
The final list of those up for auction – only a few of whom will win contracts alongside the star names already signed up – is scheduled to be announced tomorrow after the IPL chairman, Lalit Modi, had briefly threatened that England's players would be removed from the list.
The IPL has been involved in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the England and Wales Cricket Board, insisting that the new players to be auctioned must be available for the entire season. It also wants players to be available for pre-tournament friendlies, making the demands of the franchises ever larger.
Sundar Raman, the IPL chief executive, said: "That is a condition, a preliminary requirement." He says the ECB has been forced to give way.
The ECB wanted to retain the agreement signed last February, which allowed them to block players' involvement for part of the tournament and which enables them to limit the involvement of players like Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood — a power that persuaded Andrew Flintoff to turn freelance.
The ECB remains wary that players contracted to IPL clubs could soon be demanded for far longer than the extent of the tournament, damaging international availability, development programmes and county cricket in the process.
Eight England players were included on the preliminary auction list, including Jonathan Trott, who is still with England's Test squad in South Africa. The others were Usman Afzaal, Tim Bresnan, James Foster, Anthony McGrath, Eoin Morgan, Monty Panesar and Adil Rashid.