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heh, heh........the real Monty! heh, heh........

India cashes in on Twenty20 global appeal (110)

It does not take a genius to work out how mad India is for its cricket.
But a new international Twenty20 league, the Indian Premier League, has raised the stakes even higher with $800m (£411m) being spent on TV rights for a 59-game tournament in April, featuring eights teams comprising many of the world's top stars and young Indian players.
On Wednesday in Mumbai, the hotly contested auction for the players was held and hundreds of millions of dollars were flying around in a secure bidding process to capture the services of cricketers such as Mahendra Dhoni, who went to Chennai for $1.5m (£771,000), Australia's Andrew Symonds, who cost Hyderabad $1.35m (£694,000), and Sri Lanka veteran Sanath Jayasuriya, who Mumbai forked out $975,000 (£500,000) for.
It was like a high stakes fantasy cricket game with Monopoly money all rolled into one - except it was for real...
Check out the video here.
Although thousands of miles away in London, it was not hard to sense the excitement and chaos that was happening in India as we tried to convey this huge cricket story.
As we tried to get hold of BBC contacts, they could hardly hear us on their mobile telephones because of the din being made by hundreds of fans and 300 journalists who had turned up to the auction.
And there was a real sense of anticipation as every so often, an IPL spokesman appeared from behind the closed doors to announce how much players had been sold for in the latest round of bidding.

BBC reporter Prachi Pinglay said: "The eight franchisees were in a huge room and exchanged smiles and greetings but the bidding was fiercely competitive.
"While the players were bought and sold at sometimes astronomical, sometimes at reserve base prices, it was the media centre that was stormy.
"With over 300 media persons from national as well as international press, the media frenzy compensated for any absence of fans for the Bollywood biggies."
Shahrukh Khan, a first time bidder who bought nine players - including Ishant Sharma for a whopping $950, 000 - told the press that by the end of the day he was almost getting addicted to bidding. He said the atmosphere at the auction was full of comraderie.
And liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who bought eight players - including Jacques Kallis at $900,000 - felt that everyone got what they wanted.
The BBC's Rahul Tandon was also in the thick of the action and he told 5 Live the start of the auction had been delayed because the amount of fans and media outside meant that the rich businessmen and Bollywood stars who own the franchises could not get into the room on time.
The police were also called to quell the crowds which had gathered.
Tandon said: "The amount Dhoni went for was extraordinary as his list price was $400,000 but all eight teams wanted him and there was a bidding war.
"There is money coming to cricket here like the game has never seen before."
India was slow to embrace Twenty20 cricket initially but that all changed when they won the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa in September and interest in the shortest format of the game suddenly exploded.
The Board for the Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) was then quick to catch on to the money that could be made and has hastily arranged the IPL, with the International Cricket Council's blessing.
"Cricket is not just a sport here, it's a business. This is one of the world's fastest growing economies. If you want to get into this country with your product then get a cricket player to endorse it," Tandon added.

England cricket fans can be forgiven for the IPL passing them by so far as no England players are involved in it because it clashes with the start of the county season and the English Test summer.
England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is currently in India with the England Lions team as he continues his comeback from a fourth ankle operation and he has been amazed by the frenzy the IPL has generated.
He said: "It's hard not to follow it because it's in all the newspapers and television over here.
"But the IPL itself is not something I'm particularly interested in because it clashes with our English season."
Other players, including former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and all-rounder Scott Syris have announced their retirements in order to be able to play in the IPL.
And in the future, could the IPL's money talk even more?
The BCCI could ultimatey try to persuade the ICC to introduce a break in the international calendar to avoid direct competition with national boards and the England and Wales Cricket Board could have its arm twisted to allow England players to go.
But the ICC said on Wednesday the Future Tours Programme was sorted until 2012.
A spokesman for the Bangalore team said they would dearly love a player such as Kevin Pietersen in future seasons as he would be a big draw.
It will be very interesting to see what the next chapter in this new cricket phenomenon will bring.
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
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The Hollywood Cat & Fiddle pub of old pal Kim Gardner (RIP) has an annual cricket for the homeless event. The teams consist mostly of musicians and actors.
Where else can you see an English Lord, actor Michael York, and old Sex Pistols rocker
Johnny Lydon (Rotten) in the same lineup.
Few are better at poking fun at themselves than the Brits. It's usually a blast.
 
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