Nottinghamshire have told three of their England players -- Michael Lumb, Alex Hales and Samit Patel -- that they will not be able to pursue interest in taking part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) next year.
The trio, who are all part of England's current Twenty20 squad in India, had been keen to try and secure deals in the tournament which runs in April and May, therefore clashing with the start of the English domestic season. Of the three only Lumb has previous IPL experience with Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers.
It is by no means certain that any of them would have been picked up for the IPL although Hales has consolidated his England place this year with consistent scoring including a 26-ball fifty in the first T20 against India in Pune. On Thursday Hales was bought in the BPL auction, from which Lumb withdrew his name.
Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, said: "We were very clear that we expected all of our players to be available to us as we would be severely weakened if we were to lose them for that period of time at that stage of the season.
"The players asked me to consider releasing them to enable them to take part in the IPL but they are key members of the squad and I explained that we wouldn't be able to allow them to take part."
Nottinghamshire's stance continues the uneasy relationship between English cricket and the IPL. Although the county game has not seen an early-season mass exodus to India, it will be interesting to watch whether other counties take a lead from Nottinghamshire to try and protect their own interests instead of losing key players.
Players fortunate enough to secure deals are understandably keen to take them up, but they can leave significant holes in the counties for the first six weeks of the season. Essex have previously had to cover for the absence of Owais Shah and Durham for Paul Collingwood.
The tournament has also meant weakened international sides arriving for tours and players arriving at the last minute before a Test series. That is likely to happen again next season with New Zealand's two-Test series clashing with the IPL.
Nottinghamshire's centrally contracted England players, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad, would have their participation in any IPL deals that were offered decided by the ECB.