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Sky Sports wins IPL cricket rights

Despite the Ashes debacle, English cricket's popularity has not been as high for years, and drawing on this Sky Sports has swooped for rights to show the Indian Premier League (IPL) exclusively live for the first time.

Launched in 2008, the IPL features many of the world's best cricket players in a two-month competition contested across India, with matches drawing huge crowds that create electric atmospheres. Last year's tournament was won by the Mumbai Indians, led by Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. The timing of Sky's stroke work is perfect given the arrival to the hugely popular league of star English batsman Kevin Pietersen, unceremoniously and controversially sacked from the English national side.

The deal means that Sky Sports viewers will be able to enjoy the world's top four domestic Twenty20 cricket competitions; the IPL, the ECB's NatWest T20 Blast, Australia's Big Bash League and South Africa's Ram Slam T20 Challenge. The pay-TV giant's viewers will now be able to watch 60 live matches each year for at least three years from 2015.

Commenting on why it made its move, Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "It's the cricket competition that everyone is talking about and from next year, only on Sky Sports can viewers follow the IPL live. Sky Sports' cricket coverage has never been stronger, offering something for everyone including all the major Test playing nations and all the best players. We can't wait. Before then, our cricket continues with the best action including ICC World Twenty20 next month and England's summer Tests against Sri Lanka and India."

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