Shoiab Malik, Mohd Asif join IPL, number of foreign players now 29

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New Delhi, Oct 18 (UNI) The BCCI backed Indian Premier League (IPL) got further boost with four new foreign player- Pakistani Captain Shoaib Malik, speedster Mohammed Asif, batsmen Younus Khan and Kiwi all rounder Brendon McCullum joining its rank-taking number of international cricketers that have signed with it to twenty nine.

The inaugural season of the league is slated to kick off by mid-April next year. The IPL plans to have its first player auction by January next year.

The league Governing Council today signed off on a forty-four day tournament featuring eight franchises in the first season.

Each team will play seven home and away games against one another. Resulting in a fifty-six game regular season to determine the four finalists, who would then face off in the semi-finals. A grand final would then be played culminating in a clash of the two best club sides in the country.

According to IPL League Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi, ''Keeping with the tradition of the Twenty20 format, it has been agreed all matches would be played under lights at BCCI designated stadia across the country.'' The Governing Council also agreed on each of the eight franchises having a playing squad of sixteen players comprising four internationally contracted players.

The squad would also include 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 National Team or overseas contracted players, marking the entry of these professionals into Indian domestic cricket for the first time.

Other foreign players who have already signed with IPL are Shane Warne, Glen McGrath, Stephen Fleming, Jacob Oram, Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Graeme Smith, Daniel Vettori, Herschelle Gibbs, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammed Yousuf, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chaminda Vaas, Justin Langer, Shaun Pollock, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince, Albie Morkel and Scott Styris.


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