IPL news January 20, 2012

Bopara has IPL change of heart

Ravi Bopara, who relinquished an IPL deal last year to concentrate on winning a place in England's Test side, has changed his stance by joining a host of England players in the preliminary list for the 2012 player auction.

Bopara chose to play County Championship cricket for Essex early last season on the advice of his England and Essex mentor Graham Gooch but his form was patchy and Eoin Morgan, who was unabashed about his preference for IPL, was preferred to him for the final batting spot in the first Test against Sri Lanka.

James Anderson, Graeme Swann, Matt Prior and Chris Tremlett are among other England players who appear in the preliminary list for the 2012 IPL auction. Swann and Anderson failed to win a place last year, their appeal not enhanced by a clash with England's first home Test series of the season.

Despite a heavy schedule for England throughout 2012 - they play 15 Tests, 17 ODIs and seven Twenty20 internationals, as well as defending their World T20 title - the players are keen to follow the likes of Morgan and Kevin Pietersen in experiencing IPL and the rewards available.

Stuart Broad, England's T20 captain, might have gained from more experience in 20-over cricket but he has suffered a troubled time through injury and he will have delighted the England management by choosing to rest and recuperate.

Strictly speaking, the ECB could prevent any English players from participating in the IPL by withholding no objection certificates, but their resistance seems to be lessening, perhaps after pressure from the Professional Cricketers Association.

There may also be a growing recognition that players will want to enhance their earnings and that experience of playing in Asian conditions and against some of the best players in the world should prove beneficial ahead of the World T20 in Sri Lanka in September.

The auction will be held on February 4 in Bangalore and the IPL season runs between April 4 and May 27. The involvement of England players is likely to be curtailed by international duty, with their series in Sri Lanka not finishing until April 7 and their series against West Indies starting on May 17.

Other England, or former England, players involved in the auction are Luke Wright, who recently made the fastest century in Australian domestic T20s in the Big Bash League, Rikki Clarke, Jade Dernbach, Simon Jones and Mal Loye. Azhar Mahmood, the former Pakistan international who now has a UK passport, is also included.

Swann is the only player in the preliminary list for the 2012 IPL auction to command the highest reserve price: US$400,000. Two former Australia spinners, Brad Hogg and Stuart MacGill, are the oldest players on the list, at 41 and 40 respectively. Both their reserve prices have been set at $100,000.

A total of 183 players have been listed for the auction that will be held in Bangalore, but that number does not include the players from the terminated Kochi Tuskers Kerala franchise. ESPNcricinfo understands they will be included in the final list for the auction.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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