Mumbai:Two-time World Cup winning Australian captain Ricky Ponting led the cream of Australian players who on Tuesday signed up for the BCCI-promoted Indian Premier League along with swashbuckling Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
Ponting, his deputy Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Jason Gillespie and Cameron White are the Australians who have joined the IPL, a media release said in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Pakistani Afridi and South African Loots Bosman have also been roped in for the inaugural edition of the Twenty20 championship, which has already contracted 29 players from New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and West Indies.
So far, 44 players have signed up for the tournament, which will feature 56 league games plus two semi-finals and a final after it kicks off in mid-April next year.
Among those who had signed up earlier are retired Australian greats Shane Warne and Glen McGarth, former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, South African captain Graeme Smith and his compatriot Shaun Pollock, current New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori and Pakistan players Mohammed Yousuf and Shoaib Akhtar.
IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi expressed satisfaction at the signing up of the cream of Australia and added that their induction would add a new dimension to the League.
Lalit Modi expressed confidence that the cricket loving people of India would cherish the opportunity to see the world champions turn out for their local teams.
He believed that the induction of the prodigious Aussie talent will add a whole new dimension to the cricket that is played in the Indian Premier League.