New Delhi, Oct 9 (UNI) The Indian Premier League (IPL) raced ahead of rival Indain Cricket Laegue (ICL) in the battle of recruitment with the signing of 10 current and one former international cricketer including South Africa captain Graeme Smith and New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori.
Pakistani middle order bat Mohammed Yousuf's name also figured in the new signings announced today for the inaugural Twenty20 championships in April next year, thereby confirming that he has ditched the ICL.
Others who were roped in by IPL, include West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Lankan pace ace Chaminda Vaas, South Africans Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince and Albie Morkel, Scott Styris of New Zealand and former Australian opener Justin Langer.
With this, the total signings of international cricketers for the inaugural season of the IPL have reached 22.
The IPL had already announced the participation of retired Australians greats Shane Warne and Glen McGarth, former Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming and eight cricketers from the current Sri Lankan team, including their skipper Mahela Jayawardene, opener Sanath Jayasuriya and spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.
The IPL which offers a prize purse of 3 million dollars, 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 next year culminating in a clash of the two best club sides in India. The IPL hopes to grow the eight franchises to 16 by 2010.
Each franchise would have a playing squad of 16 players comprising BCCI registered players drawn from a central contract pool of Indian players.
Each IPL team will also feature both under 21 players and designated players per team. The designated players could well be contracted from the Indian national team or overseas contracted players, marking the entry of these professionals into Indian domestic cricket for the first time.
All the matches will be played under lights at BCCI-designated stadia across the country.