Significant increase in players and venues as well February 29, 2008

ICL's second tournament to feature more teams

Cricinfo staff

The latest ICL Twenty20 tournament goes international, with a team from Pakistan © Cricinfo Ltd

A week after the IPL's high-profile first-ever cricket auction, the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL) has responded by announcing its second international Twenty20 tournament - which will be bigger, have more international players, new venues and an additional broadcaster.

The tournament, called the "ICL 20s Grand Championship", runs from March 9 to April 7. Those taking part include Shane Bond, who faces a global ban on his cricket career. The Dubai-based Ten Sports, which recently retained the media rights of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), will telecast all the ICL matches live this time along with Zee Sports, it was announced in Mumbai today.

Ten Sports is half-owned by Zee TV, which is run by the Indian businessman Subash Chandra who is also the ICL's promoter. "It's exciting that the tournament will reach more people this time with Ten Sports coming on board," said an ICL spokesperson. "Bond and Jason Gillespie will be taking part, too, though we are yet to make an official announcement on that. There will also be a team from Pakistan for the first time, Lahore Badshahs, which will join the other seven named after Indian cities."

The matches will be held in Gurgaon, Hyderabad, and Panchkula - which hosted the ICL's inaugural tournament.

Thirteen other international players have also been signed up to play, including New Zealand's Adam Parore, and Australians Mathew Elliot and Michael Kasprowicz, said an ICL statement.

Ahmedabad Rockets is the other new team in the fixture, which includes last year's champion Chennai Superstars, Delhi Giants, Mumbai Champs, Hyderabad Heroes, Kolkata Tigers, and Chandigarh Lions.

Apart from the inaugural Twenty20 tournament in Panchkula last year, the ICL had also conducted a domestic 50-over tournament in Chennai.

"Personally, I am happy to see Pakistan being represented by the Lahore Badshahs. We all have some great cricketing moments playing with them and I would like to see history repeat itself in the ICL," said Kapil Dev, the chairman of ICL's executive board.

"With a match every evening and double headers on specific week-ends, the tournament will have in total 34 matches. Each team will play against each other once in the league format, followed by the semi-finals, third position classification match concluding with the best-of-three finals," said the statement.