IPL does a coup, signs Murali, Jayasuriya, Jayawardene

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New Delhi, Oct 1 (UNI) BCCI's ambitious Indian Primier League (IPL) today pulled off a coup d'etat of sort with the big time signing up of eight current Sri Lankan cricketers including Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan for the inaugural season.

The signing up of the star players from the emerald island -- Jayawardene, Muralitharan, Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Zoysa, Farveez Maharoof and Dilhara Fernando -- came three days after the 'rebel' Indian Cricket League (ICL) roped in 18 more cricketers including five from overseas.

Having already signed-up the likes of Shane Warne, Stephen Fleming and Glen McGrath for the inaugural season in April next year, IPL's big signings today would further enhance its prestige as compared to its 'rival' league which is facing ''teething problems'' as admitted by its Executive Board Chairman Kapil Dev.

An elated Lalit Modi, IPL Chairman and Commissioner, said, ''We at the IPL are committed to enticing an entire new generation of sports fans into the grounds by showcasing some of the best cricketing talent on offer from the world over.'' ''It is in line with this philosophy that we have signed eight of the current Sri Lankan squad. We are also in talks with some of the finest players in international cricketing arena. I promise Indian fans that the IPL will truly be one of the finest cricketing leagues anywhere in the world,'' said the BCCI vice-president in a statement.

Jayawardene said, ''Twenty20 cricket is an exciting new format for both cricketers and fans. We are all thrilled to be joining the IPL, an innovative venture that has the potential to fuel cricket's growth around the world during the coming years. We are looking forward to making our mark in the league.'' UNI

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