Ponting, Gilchrist, Lee, Symonds to set afire opening season of IPL

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Mumbai, Oct 30 (UNI) The cream of Australian cricketing talent, led by captain Ricky Ponting and vice captain Adam Gilchrist, together with eleven other Aussies and Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi and Loots Bosman of South Africa have signed on to participate in the Indian Premier League (IPL), which kicks off in April next year.

These players, along with 29 others from New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and West Indies who signed earlier, will participate in the league matches of the inaugural IPL Twenty20 championship, scheduled to commence from April next year, said a release here today.

Those who signed up today, apart from Australian captain Ricky Ponting and vice captain Adam Gilchrist, included Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi and South African batsman Loots Bosman.

The IPL will also witness a star-studded line up of Australians like Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Brett Lee, Mathew Hayden, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Jhonson, Simon Katich, Jason Gilliseppe and Cameron White taking the total of international cricketers that have signed up to play in the IPL to 44.

IPL had already signed the likes of Shane Warne, Justin Langer and Glen McGarth of Australia; Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, Scott Styris and Jacob Oram of New Zealand; Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka; Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, Ashwell Prince, Albie Morkel, A B deVilliers and Shaun Pollock of South Africa; Shivnarine Chanderpaul of West Indies; and Mohammed Yousuf and Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan for participation in the inaugural tournament.

Indian Premier League chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi said ''We have great pleasure in announcing today, the induction of some of the finest talent from the World One-Day Champions Team Australia. I am sure that the cricket loving public of India would cherish the opportunity to see the world champions turn out for their local teams. The induction of the prodigious Aussie talent, I am sure, will add a whole new dimension to the cricket that it played in the Indian Premier League.'' MORE UNI

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