September 18, 2013

A can't-really-be-bothered preview of the Champions League

All that you need to know about a tournament that you might have forgotten about

Although we humans are vastly intelligent, deviously inventive and by far the best thing ever to have come out of planet Earth, we do have our weaknesses.

For instance, we have picked up a few addictions over the millennia; most notably coffee, cigarettes and war. Of the three, we particularly enjoy war. Any war will do, we're not fussy: wars of self-defence, wars of independence, wars of succession, civil wars, tribal wars, religious wars, pre-emptive wars, wars to send a message, wars to defend imaginary red lines, wars to prevent wars. We don't mind how long a war lasts, although purists who favour the Hundred Years' War tend to turn their noses up at the shorter forms.

Another weakness is our fallible human memory. Some people - dictators, head teachers, serial killers, business people, and other suspicious types - get around this by methodically recording their schedules in executive diaries:

Tuesday - Meeting with SuperCorp to discuss merger with BigPlc
Wednesday - Assassinate opposition leader
Thursday - Parent's evening
Friday - Start World War Three

That sort of thing.

Since most of us lack this kind of discipline, our calendars, carefully hung up during the New Year holiday, remain unsullied by scribble throughout the year, while our living spaces are festooned with Post-Its, upon which are inscribed the essential facts of our existence.

As a result, we often find that significant dates have a habit of creeping up on us, like spiders, muggers and dry rot. There you are, reclining in bed, idly reflecting on the miracle of a free Saturday and contemplating an early lunch, when you receive a text from the vicar enquiring as to whether you'll be joining your bride at the altar anytime soon as he's got two christenings and a funeral to get through by five.

All of which is a long-winded way of confessing that I had completely forgotten about the Champions League Twenty20 until I opened up ESPNcricinfo ten minutes ago, to find that we are already knee-deep in the qualifiers. Before you know it, half these teams will be flying home again, so without delay, here is the Long Handle quick-glance, can't-really-be-bothered preview of the world-class collectives who will be participating in September's festivities.

Kandurata Macaroons
Freshly made franchise with tasty ingredients; may go stale after a day or two.

Good Morning Hyderabad
Sponsored by a popular rush-hour radio show (previously known as Deccan Drive Time) they are there on merit as the sixth- worst IPL team.

Chennai Predictables
Qualified because they always do. Likely to wear yellow.

Brisbane Belch
(Nickname: The Fighting Inebriates) The big noises in Australian T20, qualified by winning the Big Beer League. Hard to live with when they turn on the gas.

Mumbai Tendulkars
Favourites to lift the trophy as a late scheduling adjustment means they won't have to play another team before the award ceremony.

Perth Prohibition
(Formerly Perth Party) Sponsored by the Salvation Army, the teetotallers from the West Coast will be abstaining from liquor, late-night shenanigans, and victory.

Rajasthan Bail
The bookies' favourites, but may crumble under pressure when asked the question.

Otago Voltaic Piles
Functional unit but lacking power.

Nashua Tight Pants
Finished runners-up in the Johannesburg Disco League. You can tell by the way they use their bats they'll be staying alive, at least until the semi-finals.

Highveld Large Cats
Overtook the Zebras, the Antelopes and the Wildebeest to reach the Champions League. Deadly before lunch, but liable to go to sleep later on.

Trinidad & Tobago Confusion
Qualified by not winning the Caribbean Premier League ahead of Jamaica.

Faisalabad Visas
Will have to qualify the hard way by beating every other team twice, and accurately completing all 3457 pages of Interior Ministry form 64B(ii) in triplicate.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here