Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rajasthan Royals to play Twenty20 Cup winners Middlesex at Lord's

The first appearance by an Indian Premier League team in England will be confirmed today with the Rajasthan Royals, led by Shane Warne, due to play at Lord's on the eve of the Ashes series.

Shane Warne and Graeme Smith - IPL champions Rajasthan Royals to play Twenty20 Cup winners Middlesex at Lord's
Big names: Shane Warne and Graeme Smith will play for the Royals
The MCC will today announce the formation of the British Asia Cup, an annual tournament that will see the winners of the IPL play the reigning champions of the Twenty20 Cup, or P20 as it will be next year.

The Royals will field a full-strength team captained by Warne and including Graeme Smith, as well as Morne Morkel and Pakistan's Sohail Tanveer and Kamran Akmal.

The match will be played on July 6 and will be the final appearance at Lord's for Warne.

"This is yet another milestone in the international development of the IPL," said Lalit Modi, the commissioner of the IPL.

"We have shown this year that the IPL truly has global appeal, and for one of our teams to be playing at the 'home of cricket' in front of the wonderfully passionate British fans is very exciting."

Proceeds from the match will be pledged to the British Asia Trust. From 2010 the Cup will be contested as a best-of-three tournament.

"After the disappointment of not being able to play the Champions League last year it is fantastic that the 2008 Twenty20 Champions of England and India can play such a match", said Vinny Codrington, Chief Executive of Middlesex. "The fact that the game will benefit such a worthy charity is tremendous bonus."

The competition finally brings together English cricket and the IPL. Previous attempts to hold an IPL match in England have failed due to problems over clashes over the England & Wales Cricket Board's Sky television deal.

The entire IPL tournament came close to being held in England this year and there is no doubt that cracking the British market remains a major aim.

Manoj Badale, chairman of the Rajasthan Royals, added: "This is a great opportunity for the Rajasthan Royals to expand our fan base in the UK, and to showcase the great international talent in the team, and on a personal note, I am especially pleased that the British Asian Trust will be benefiting from the event."

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