Royals insist they are in the IPL game

Franchise owners quash rumours of being barred by the Indian cricket board of playing in 2011.

The Rajasthan Royals have denied reports they may not be allowed to compete in next year's Indian Premier League (IPL) by the sport's governing body in the country. Speculation in the media suggested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were considering barring Rajasthan from the event because of the controversy surrounding the ownership.

The Royals is co-owned by Shilpa Shetty, the Bollywood actress, Raj Kundra, her businessman husband, and Suresh Chellaram, the brother-in-law of Lalit Modi, the suspended IPL chairman. The franchise released a statement hitting out at the speculation. "These rumours have been clearly perpetrated by people with vested interests and are deliberately aimed at maligning the reputation of the Royals and causing them harm," it said. "We are shocked at such reporting, which unnecessarily undermines the Royals and is extremely damaging."

Meanwhile, Jacques Kallis, Ross Taylor and Cameron White will line up for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), rather than their "home" teams in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) in South Africa starting on September 10. Under CLT20 regulations the IPL franchise must compensate the Warriors, Central Stags and Victorian Bushrangers US$200,000 (Dh734,619) each. Shane Warne, the ex-Australia leg-spinner, has revealed he is keen to play in the IPL next year. The 40-year-old, who captained Rajasthan to victory in the first year of the T20 tournament, made the announcement on his Twitter account today. "Yes, I'm playing in IPL4," Warne said.

Mohammad Irfan, a left-arm paceman from Pakistan, will play for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL next year - subject to approval from the BCCI. * Agencies