For the second consecutive year, trading between IPL franchises was a dull affair with only three transfers taking place. With most teams having settled squads, Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders were the only ones involved in the player exchange. Meanwhile, some players have been released by teams to free up slots for the auction on January 19, the most prominent name being Glenn McGrath whose contract worth $350,000 has been bought out by Delhi.

Kolkata swapped Australia and New South Wales allrounder Moises Henriques for the England batsman Owais Shah. Delhi had bought Shah at the inaugural auction in 2008 for $250,000 while Kolkata had signed Henriques for $300,000 before he made his international debut last February in a Twenty20 against New Zealand. Both teams were also involved in the third trade, with Delhi transferring Manoj Tiwary to Kolkata. Tiwary was bought for $625,000 in the first auction but now returns to his home state Bengal. Though no IPL official confirmed the transfers they were listed on the tournament's official website.

Amrit Mathur, Delhi's chief operating officer, said trading was always going to be a slow affair except for teams making "minor adjustments". "Teams have very limited requirements except for minor adjustments in terms of injuries, or if a player is not available like in case of a buy-out," he said. "Sometimes economics comes in the way and sometimes you have to consider the player availability and how long his contract stands for."

The franchises' spending will be capped at $750,000 during the forthcoming auction and they have focused on creating space for a possible big-name signing for the third season. Hyderabad had ended the contracts of Sri Lankan batsman Chamara Silva and bowler Nuwan Zoysa. Darren Lehmann, Hyderabad's coach, confirmed the development, saying they were looking to buy players during the auction to fill vacancies.

Unlike the first two years, this year's auction could be more sedate. The IPL website said: "Players should be aware that the number of overseas players that a franchise may have in its squad is capped at ten. In 2009, over 100 players registered an interest in being included in the auction and 50 were presented for the 17 available places in the franchises' squads. Although the final number of available places in the franchises' squads for 2010 will not be known until nearer the auction, IPL expects that the number will be substantially lower than 17 that were available in 2009."

The other reason teams were reluctant to trade was because they were waiting for the IPL to release auction guidelines for 2011 and beyond, when all players except a select few would be available in the market. "We don't even know the rules about what happens to the buys after 2010 - do we get to keep them or do they go back on the auction," said an official from another franchise.

Mathur is optimistic about trading becoming popular in future when each franchise will have a large squad and they will buy and sell for "economic" reasons. "At the moment trading is not done for financial reasons, it is dictated by team requirement," he said. The next move would be for the teams to nurture young talent for a few years and then sell them when they need money, but that will take time.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo