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DateLine Sunday, 30 September 2007

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Former NZ stars sign up with rebel Indian league

CRICKET: NEW DELHI, Sept 29, 2007 - Former New Zealand stars Chris Cairns and Nathan Astle have signed deals with the breakaway Indian Cricket League, organisers announced Friday.

Four other former international cricketers, including Pakistan's Azhar Mahmood, have joined ranks with the multi-million dollar league, a statement from Zee Telefilms, who are bankrolling the league, said.

Kiwi players Chris Harris and Hamish Marshall, and England's Darren Maddy, complete the new list of signing by the league, set to start later this year.

Kapil Dev, the legendary Indian all-rounder who spearheads the ICL, said the deals were consistent with the league's promise to attract quality international players.

"The signing are in line with our objective of providing the best platform to young cricketers to play alongside the superstars of international cricket," he was quoted as saying in the statement.

The fresh deals take the total number of international players to be aligned with the rebel league to 12, with questions hanging over the availability of Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf.

Yousuf announced he had broken his contract with the ICL to represent the national team in the Test series against South Africa but the organisers insisted Friday that the prolific batsman would turn out for them.

Former Test captains Brian Lara of the West Indies and Inzamam-ul-Haq of Pakistan lead the ICL list, which also includes South Africans Lance Klusener and Nicky Boje.

The Indian cricket board, as well as its Pakistani and Sri Lankan counterparts, has barred players aligning with the ICL from playing first-class cricket. This makes them ineligible for selection for national teams.

- AFP

 

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