Wellington, Jan.17 (ANI): The next auction takes place on Tuesday night and four New Zealand players are in the frame for the third IPL tournament, in March-April.
The initial group of New Zealanders are still there, although former captain Stephen Fleming's designation has changed from player to coach at the Chennai Super Kings.
Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Dan Vettori, Scott Styris, Kyle Mills and Jesse Ryder - who joined last year - have contracts which end after this tournament.
Future deals will be of one-year duration. Two more teams are to join in the bonanza, most likely based in Lucknow and Ahmedabad, for the 2011 season.
But that initial frisson of excitement - "who wants me? How much? Say that again?" - has been replaced by a deal of hard-nosed pragmatism.
The four New Zealand players in the auction next week are Shane Bond, Nathan McCullum, Grant Elliott and Lou Vincent. There are no guarantees all will be snapped up.
Speedster Bond would seem obvious; McCullum is a tight offspinner who can give the ball a clout; Vincent, the former rival Indian Twenty20 player, showed on Wednesday how valuable an acquisition he could be, scoring 105 in only 60 balls for Auckland against Wellington.
Elliott is in a sense the odd one out. He has proved highly proficient in the ODI game, but yet to show his real talents lie in the shortest of the international forms.
And they are distinctly different. A batsman might get a couple of overs to get his eye in and feet moving for a 50-over contest; in Twenty20 he gets a couple of balls. If he's lucky.
You might wonder why Martin Guptill is not there. Daryl Tuffey had a decent case for inclusion on a short list (and there's a joke, considering it numbers 52, but there you are - sometimes it's not so much how you perform but where you're from).
Australia have 11 names in the auction; the West Indies eight; Canada, Holland and Zimbabwe one each.
At present negotiations on the new collective agreement for New Zealand's leading players are under way with New Zealand Cricket. (ANI)