Shoaib Akhtar, Shaun Pollock and Jacob Oram have joined the Indian Premier League (IPL), according to Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and a vice-president of the Indian board (BCCI).
"To have Akhtar play for an India club team, together with a cricketer as talented as Pollock will be a dream come true for the cricket-loving Indian fans," said Modi. "It also reiterates our commitment to create a tournament that will showcase some of the best talent in the world. I am very excited about the inaugural season of the IPL, which now looks all set to kick off in April 2008."
Pollock said that he had signed with the IPL because "it's recognised by Cricket South Africa" and "looked forward to playing in the league". He had earlier been approached by the Indian Cricket League but declined the offer.
The US $3 million IPL now has 25 signees. They include Shane Warne, Glenn McGarth, Justin Langer, Mahela Jayawardene, Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince, Albie Morkel, Mohammad Yousuf, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sanath Jayasuriya, Chaminda Vaas, Daniel Vettori, Stephen Fleming and Scott Styris.
The IPL, sanctioned by the International Cricket Council, is a Twenty20 competition that will feature eight franchises participating in a 56-game season. The top four teams will then face off in the semi-finals, with the winners contesting the championship match.