Sri Lankan stars set to shine in new IPL
SRI LANKA’S top stars are set to shine in the new Indian Cricket League it was announced yesterday. The IPL – the BCCI’s answer to the breakaway Indian Cricket League – has already roped in spinner Shane Warne, fast bowler Glenn McGrath and former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming for its first edition.
And the fledgling competition received another shot in the arm with the news that one of the greatest spinners of all time Muttiah Muralitharan, veteran all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya, and wicketkeeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara have signed up to play.
Also set to do battle with Warne and McGrath are Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Zoysa, Farveez Maharoof and Dilhara Fernando.And Lalit Modi, chairman of the IPL, believes having such players will make cricket even more popular and exciting in India. “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,” Modi said.
“We are in talks with some of the finest players in the international arena. I promise Indian fans that the IPL will truly be one of the finest cricketing leagues anywhere in the world.”
The IPL is due to start in April 2008 and will see eight teams competing in home and away matches.
Meanwhile, Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns is to come out of retirement to play in the IPL’s rival, the rebel ICL. It is a move that highlights the fact the ICL is quickly becoming a last hurrah for retired heroes, with the IPL signing all the current stars. The 37-year-old, who retired from the Black Caps’ Test team in 2004, and from the one-day scene two years later, admitted the ICL’s offer was simply too good to resist.
“It’s a lucrative deal. It’s brought me out of retirement and to do that it has to be worth it,” said Cairns. “The competition is also a chance to have one last go playing in front of heaps of people.”