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Kevin Pietersen, who stepped down as captain, is set to have his loyalty to England tested by a host of Indian Premier League teams.

Pietersen will be the star attraction when the IPL player auction commences on February 6, The Sun reported.

He could command a 1million pound deal to play in the six-week tournament, which starts on April 10.

Under the terms of his new England contract, Pietersen would only be available for the first 15 days, before returning for a two-Test series with West Indies.

But crucially England players are yet to sign up to the deal, with three Indian clubs hoping he can jostle for more time out.

Bangalore Royal Challengers, owned by billionaire industrialist Vijay Mallya, are understood to be planning to blow their budget on KP, the paper said.

And having already held informal talks during England's tour to India last year, they appear to lead the race for his signature.

Chief executive Brijesh Patel said: "Of course, we are interested. Naturally, Pietersen will be one of the top players for next IPL."

Kolkata Knight Riders will also be in the mix, with team director Joy Bhattacharya claiming that if KP is free "for the whole hog, then definitely he will be a jewel."

Mumbai Indians, led by Sachin Tendulkar, make up the trio, with a spokesperson calling Pietersen "an entertainer who will definitely bring in the crowds."

Another added: "Our plans are confidential. But we are still waiting on how much time the England players have."

In his resignation statement, Pietersen committed himself to the upcoming tour and the Ashes, but made no mention of the two Tests against the Windies in May, The Sun reported.

Sean Morris, the chairman of Professional Cricketers' Association, believes nothing should be read into the oversight.

He added: "It's common knowledge that there's a 15-day window within England's central contracts. Anything longer than that is not really a possibility at the moment, but obviously there's a little way to go between now and actually signing the contract.

"KP is currently in the same position as the whole squad. We've still got the finer details to complete, and we are keen to do that before the team departs for the West Indies."

Either way, the final word will still rest with the England and Wales Cricket Board, who have to sign off any deal KP strikes with the IPL.
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