Mumbai: The Indian Premier League (IPL) today announced the signing of three top South Africans and two West Indians taking its total signings of international cricketing talent to one short of a half century at 49 players.
The IPL has signed the prodigious talents of South African all rounder Jacque Kallis, wicketkeeper Mark Boucher and speedster Makhaya Ntini and West Indians including their captain Ramnaresh Sarwan and ace batsman Chris Gayle, a release issued here today stated.
Incidentally, this also marks the completion of the first phase of activities for IPL"s inaugural Twenty20 championships which makes its debut in India in April 2008.
Interestingly, the IPL has achieved a 100 per cent sign up on the initial list of international cricketers that it had drawn up.
Indian Premier League chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi said, ''IPL had publicly promised the Indian cricket fans of delivering high voltage Twenty20 cricket action through some of the most talented international and national cricketers. In line with that commitment, I am happy to state that we have completed the first phase by signing some of the best international talent available.''
''The response from potential franchisees for owning an IPL team has also been quite overwhelming and I am certain we will have some very interesting announcements to make in the days and weeks ahead. The stage is well and truly being set for a scintillating inaugural season for the IPL of that I am certain,'' he added.
The Indian Premier League will feature eight franchises in the first season, with each team playing seven home and away games against one another. Thus, resulting in a 56 game regular season to determine the four finalists, who would then face off in the semi-finals. A grand-final would be played toward the end of April 2008 culminating in a clash of the two best club sides in India. The IPL hopes to grow the eight franchises to sixteen by 2010.
Each franchise would have a playing squad of sixteen players comprising BCCI registered players drawn from a central contract pool of Indian players. Giving impetus to the development of cricket in India, each Indian Premier League team will also feature both under 21 players and designated players per team, the release added.
In keeping with the tradition of the Twenty 20, all of the Indian Premier League"s matches will be played under lights at BCCI designated stadia across the country and USD 3 million prize money would make this cricket tournament the richest purse in domestic cricket.
Importantly, the Indian Premier League will also boast a truly unique governing council comprising of Lalit Modi, Vice President, BCCI as the League Chairman and Commissioner. Furthermore, the likes of I S Bindra, former BCCI President and Member BCCI, Chirayu Amin, Vice President BCCI, Rajeev Shukla, Vice President BCCI, Arun Jaitley, President Delhi District Cricket Association&Member BCCI, and three former team India captains namely Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shashtri will also be a part of the governing council, the release added.
IPL signings: Nuwan Zoysa, Mahela Jayawardena, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralidaran, Farveez Maharoof, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Dilhara Fernando, Shane Warne, Glen Mcgrath, Stephan Fleming, Mohammad Yousuf, Chaminda Vaas, Herchel Gibbs, Justin Langer, Daniel Vettori, Ashwell Prince, Shivnarain Chanderpaul, Scott Styris, Graham Smith, A B A Devilliers, A Morkel, Jacob Oram, Shoaib Akhtar, Shaun Pollock, Brendan Mcullum, Shoaib Malik, Younas Khan, Muhammad Asif, Shaihd afridi, Ricky Ponting, Brett lee, M Hussey, Mathew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, M J Clarke, A Symonds, N W Bracken, Cameroon White, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Jason Gillespie, Simon Katich and Loots Bosman.