Smith signs up to play in new BCCI Twenty20 series
Test cricket captains Graeme Smith of SA and New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori would play in the official Indian premier league (IPL) next year, officials said yesterday .The Twenty20 league, organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has also signed up South African opener Herschelle Gibbs and West Indian veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Pakistani batsman Mohammad Yousuf, also associated with the breakaway Indian Cricket League — bankrolled by Zee Telefilms — was also among the players named by the IPL yesterday.
Other new players in the official list are Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka, former Australian opener Justin Langer, Scott Styris of New Zealand and SA’s AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince and Albie Morkel.
Among players named earlier were retired Australian greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath and Sri Lankans Mahela Jayawardene and Sanath Jayasuriya.
“We had promised the cricket-loving masses of India some truly international class high-octane action through the Twenty20 format in the IPL,” said BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi.
“It is in line with this promise and philosophy that we have signed some of the best cricketing talent on display internationally, including more than five players that have captained their respective countries,” said Modi.
The league in April will offer $3m in prize money and will have eight teams, which will be bought by franchisees. The top two sides will qualify for the international Champions Twenty20 League to be played in October next year, at a venue that has still to be decided.
The sides could include up to four internationals, teaming up with domestic players and local youngsters. Smith said he looked forward to playing in the Indian Twenty20 competition.
Cricket SA (CSA) says it will not stand in the way of contracted players approached to play in the IPL, provided this does not clash with their commitments to SA’s Test squad or the one-day international squad.
“The premier league is an initiative of the BCCI and as such is recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and consequently by CSA,” said CSA CE Gerald Majola.
However, there is still no final clarity on the position of players who have signed up for the rival Indian Cricket League (ICL), which has not got the blessing of the BCCI.
Majola has said players joining the ICL would not be allowed to play in matches organised by CSA. Five South Africans — Andrew Hall, Nicky Boje, Lance Klusener, Loots Bosman and Johan van der Wath — have signed up for the ICL.