Ponting and Gilchrist join IPL
The Australian captain Ricky Ponting, the vice-captain Adam Gilchrist and the Pakistan batsman Shahid Afridi are the latest high-profile signings for the Indian Premier League (IPL). The South African opening batsman Loots Bosman became the seventh South African to join, increasing the number of foreign players to 44.
Ponting and Gilchrist join an extensive list of Australia's frontline players to join the league, including Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Matthew Hayden, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich and Jason Gillespie. Retired stars Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath were the first two Australians to commit to the league, back in September.
Afridi is the third Pakistan player to join to the league after Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Akhtar. The 15 Australian signings would add a "new dimension" to the IPL, according to Lalit Modi, the chairman of the IPL.
"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," Modi said. "The induction of the prodigious Aussie talent will add a whole new dimension to the Indian Premier League."
However, with the inaugural Twenty20 tournament set to commence in April next year, several of the Australian-contracted players might be unavailable as the team will tour Pakistan and West Indies around that time.