Champions League T20 2012

Threat of quick-fire exit looms for qualifiers

For some teams the Champions League T20 will be a case of blink-and-you-miss-it but, as expected, those sides needing to qualifying were not about to start moaning

Firdose Moonda

October 7, 2012

Comments: 51 | Text size: A | A

Hampshire celebrate their Friends Life t20 title, Yorkshire v Hampshire, Friends Life t20 final, August 25, 2012
Being domestic champions does not get every team straight into the Champions League T20 © Getty Images

Cricket has found a lot of ways to make itself shorter. The bowl-out, the super-over, the seven-over match if it rains in a 20-over one and now the three-day tournament.

Between Tuesday and Thursday, six teams will play six matches at two different venues on South Africa's Highveld. At the end, nobody wins anything. Two of them will earn the right to play in the Champions League T20, a tournament so obviously skewed in favour of the three shareholding countries that its actual name as a competition for champions is questionable. It's more of a tournament for some champions, some runners-up and some IPL mid-tablers - who do not have to go through the same qualification stage winners of other countries' competitions do.

Rather like Zimbabwe's participation at the World Twenty20, some domestic 20-over trophy-holders will have made their last appearance in the tournament before others even arrive in South Africa. Such is the nature of an event that guarantees some teams a place but requires others to qualify for it.

Luckily for the organisers, the people who should take issue with the format of the tournament do not seem to have too much of a problem with it. There was not one complaint to be heard from any of the four teams who addressed the media on Sunday. Sialkot Stallions and Uva Next were absent - they will have their arrival press conferences on Monday - but are unlikely to raise any fuss either.

After all, Sialkot are the first Pakistan side to take part in the CLT20 and Uva Next are making their debut, hoping to fare better than Wayamba and Ruhuna before them. Yorkshire and Hampshire have not played in the tournament before and could be enjoying the novelty of the occasion while Auckland and Trinidad and Tobago have been here before and seem happy enough to be back.

Not that they actually can say any different, of course. They already get the short end of the stick by having to qualify while the shareholders' teams go straight through and moaning may see them end up with nothing at all. The cynic would think the teams are just toeing the line but anyone who spends time with them will be able to see the genuine interest and excitement at the chance to compete in a tournament that many of them as see as only one shade away from international cricket.

"We are tremendously excited to be here. We know there are challenges, but they are nice challenges," Paul Strang, the coach of Auckland, said. For the New Zealanders, there are eyes to catch - national and IPL selectors and even if they only have two matches in which to do that, they'll take it.

Instead of mull over the unfairness, both Auckland and T&T know what they have to do. The former is determined to get it right, after failing last year. "We've understood that that's how it is, that's how it's been set up. And we've been living with that fact for the last nine months," Gareth Hopkins, the Auckland captain, said. The latter have done it before and coach David Williams sees no reason why they cannot do it again. "We're in good stead, we've played a lot of T20 cricket in the lead up to this," he said.

And, in keeping with the theme of avoiding controversy, Williams also flat-batted questions about T&T's last-minute issues which nearly led to them not arriving. "We're not aware of anything, as far as we are concerned, we're all in South Africa," he said.

For many of us this is potentially the highest standard we will reach Jimmy Adams is eager to sample the big stage

The English sides have a different sense of the realities of qualifying. None of the counties will have the chance to play in the tournament next year after the ECB decided that their teams will not participate in the 2013 CLT20 because of too much of an overlap with their season. Knowing that this could be one of their only chances to shine in this tournament is spurring both on.

"That's a shame for us. We're here and we're going to try and make the most of it," Dimitri Mascarenhas, the Hampshire captain said. "You never know when these things are going to come around again so we want to give ourselves a huge chance to do well."

Despite Mascarenhas' enthusiasm for the tournament, he was also the only person who hinted that the current format could have consequences for the future of the tournament. He said the issue of qualifying could be "one of the reasons the ECB has decided we won't be in it next year."

Other boards may agree, although the opportunities may outweigh the disadvantages as Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie explained. "You just have to ask any of our players, they are very excited to play in a tournament like this," he said. "In an ideal world, it would be fantastic to have English county sides involved and we'd love to be in a position to play CLT20 again, although at this stage, it looks like it's unlikely."

For many the chance to play against cricketers from other countries and to have television cameras beaming that image all over the world is a dream come true. "For many of us this is potentially the highest standard we will reach," Jimmy Adams, Hampshire's opening batsman, said. "It's a chance to test yourself against the best and trying to push your career."

The real gains can probably only come in the tournament proper, where the likes of Kieron Pollard and Davy Jacobs earned themselves IPL deals and caught the attention of their national selectors. But the only way for some teams to get into the tournament is to qualify. Even though popular sentiment is that they should have already done that by winning their home competition, these teams don't seem to mind a bit of extra work to get there.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by lousy_cricketer on (October 10, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

i even dont knw y this tournament takes place in first place...isnt ipl bpl ppl big bash not enuf tht this useless tourney also been added...i believe money does make everyone dance..these same players will b having issues with burn out when international matches r to b playd.

Posted by skdev on (October 10, 2012, 6:04 GMT)

it's really unfair that four Indian teams get through, but the only Sri Lankan team still has to qualify....

Posted by ProdigyA on (October 9, 2012, 21:41 GMT)

The simple fact is IPL not only bears the cost but also provides each and everybody connected to CL, from teams to players to officials to security to waiters. So instead of cribbing that is not fair just be happy with the fact that you are at least there, else everybody can pack their bags and go home to play their 3rd class domestic events.

Posted by MunafAhmed811 on (October 9, 2012, 20:04 GMT)

Kyle Mills sets up Auckland's crushing win over so called champion team - SIALKOT STALIIONS

Posted by vissu295 on (October 9, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

Until and unless the viewership for domestic T20 teams outside India/subcontinet increases, the format will be heavily skewed towards India. The league gets most of it's money from India and they had to put one more team this year as the TRP ratings last year weren't as expected considering it was played in INDIA and not RSA!! I agree it's SKEWED heavily towards IPL teams, but that's for sustaining the league. Sadly weren't living in a perfect world.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (October 9, 2012, 7:57 GMT)

People should remember that the IPL francises made it a condition of participating that they would have first pick of all players! Unlike the football Champions League where participation is decided by coefficients and qualifying over a year this tournament was set up to protect the interests of the IPL. Personally, I would agree with the suggestion that the top 8 Test sides should have one team automatically qualified and the top 4 should have two. The remaining Test sides get one team automatically into qualifying, who join the national sides of the two highest ranked Associates in T20 and one additional side from each of the top 8 Test sides. 12 sides qualify automatically. 4 come through qualifying, which could be done regionally. It becomes a genuinely international tournament of champions.

Posted by Meety on (October 9, 2012, 3:00 GMT)

At the end of the day, this is not an ICC run event. The concept of this tournament is really designed to give further market penetration for the sponsors of the IPL franchises, & increase some revenue streams for Sth Africa & Oz. The only reason why Yorkshire would travel half way around the world for this event is because it is lucrative financially speaking. The Champ League concept is a great one, unfortunately since it is not an ICC event, it is not all that it COULD be. My biggest gripe about the rules is, that a player should be MADE to play for his home domestic team. Last year NSW had about 3 or 4 frontline players taking the money & playing for IPL franchises. What is wrong about this, IMO, is that it says nothing about the respective strengths of the teams in trems of native talent. (T & T is another side that gets depleted).

Posted by drnaveed on (October 8, 2012, 23:10 GMT)

i think, if " it is just a matter of spending to much money by bcci, as a result, they are giving more chance to the indian teams" , is concerned .than better the organizers should change the name of champions league , and give some other name to this tournament.if you call it Champion's League than ideally you should make sure that only one top team from each cricket playing country should participate in it. investing too much money should not give license to any country to allow its 4 teams to participate in a one particular tournament.what will happen, if a country hosting a World Cup, hence spending too much money on it, will it send more than 2 sides to participate in the world cup , and will ICC allow it to do so, only on basis that it has spent too much money on organizing the world cup. if the answer is no , than icc should do the same here ,i mean international cricket council, and not indian cricket council.............

Posted by siddiqi on (October 8, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

Well its a private league to make money and that's fine but please stop calling it as champions league. Without a fair chance for all the champions to win this league should be called Super IPL league or something like that...

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (October 8, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

@Junior Mitchell GOOD point bro also I would add India side domestically outside of IPL as it is the Indians that funnily enough loose out most with these CLT20 format as the domestic Indians don't get to learn from these good quality games as they rely on superstars from around the world to play the pressure situations be it with bat or ball. India has the most cricketers with the most cricket mad nation it's sad for the CLT20 they can't field a side outside of IPl or at least without the IPL superstars so they can actually learn and improve.

Posted by liaqathussain on (October 8, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

the tournament is good but 4 ipl teams is a joke,,

this is the best chance to cricket to blossom if every odi teams have a local competition and the top 2 qualify for clt20. that would mean the best of zimbabwwe, bangla , kenya, ireland, etc etc

it would benefit their cricket 10 folds, and that would mean cricket would spear and blossom with in 3-4 years ,,

great chance for progress but i doubt bcci look that far ahead,,, or why don't icc hold their own clt20 with all countires clubs playing

Posted by Solid_Snake on (October 8, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

@ Jaysz ->Sialkot team is a wonderful team.Imran Nazir is a totally different Imran that we are used to in Pak team.The way he plays in Domestic,extraordinary. And let me remind you.Some people might think that Sialkot achieved it after a great hard work.And in our domestic there are great teams like Karachi Dolphins,Rawalpindi etc.Having this great record against such teams is remarkable. I hope Sialkot make their way into the main Tournament..Got Sialkot

Posted by BozoSri on (October 8, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

The IPL, and many other leagues which seem to be springing up n every corner are all businesses to make money rather than sporting events. And the aim in business is to make money. All these leagues are not governed by the ICC, they are run by invisible strings by the big companies who sponsor them, so there is no point expecting a fair tournament. So no wonder 4 ipl teams get the ticket, else who is going to watch the tournament and where is the money going to come?? I dont really care for the fairness or whatever, it is a nice evening entertainment for me to see 22 men in two different color shirts trying to hit every ball into the carpark outside the stadium.

Posted by   on (October 8, 2012, 13:00 GMT)

Ridiculous! The tournament already has a low viewership and would continue to do so unless the process is made fairer! 4 IPL teams is a joke, each one full of international stars is an even bigger joke! At most I believe no more than 2 overseas players should be allowed per squad. Then we would hopefully be able to see the shambolic state of Indian domestic cricket!

Posted by kam_uk on (October 8, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

This is sport anything could happen, would be great to see one of the qualifiers win it. Also Bangladesh deserve a place here.

Posted by tappee74 on (October 8, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

I am sure West Indies would have enjoyed more victories like this had it not been for the egos of the CEOS.I think Gibson has done too much injury to this once triumphant team.

Posted by on (October 8, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

CLT20 is not organized by any global body (ICC). The three shareholding countries have a right to make the rules if somebody has any problem don't participate simple enough....

Posted by bumsonseats on (October 8, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

Cpt don't always agree to your views but this time i whole heartedly agree with your comments.

Posted by dickiebrewsters on (October 8, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

So the champions from the countries that made the final of the international T20 get 1 team each in the qualifying event, one of the teams that got knocked out at the group stage get 4 teams in the main event, & this tournament gets a special window in the international calendar !

Posted by Ramski1 on (October 8, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

The tournament has been devalued by this closed shop mentality. It may benefit the IPL franchises, but the fans would prefer to see winners of all domestic leagues + maybe runner up from IPL, big bash + SA. No pointless qualifier. The fans will get behind the team from their country regardless so the public interest would always be there. Sort it out

Posted by   on (October 8, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

how bout an associate get into the quaflying rounds every time you have a world20 Qualifier the winner of that gets put into at least consideration for the qualiflying stages

Posted by Lachusargunam on (October 8, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

A lot of money spent by BCCI for this grand event , in order to earn the money back they ll give more chances to Indian team to play in CL 20-20 .....

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (October 8, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

@Salman Sadiq, if that is so, why are the rules so desperately skewed to produce a winner from the IPL at any cost? Even then sides like Trinidad & Tobago have upset the apple cart, despite the ridiculously sloping playing field.

Posted by   on (October 8, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

@ Hassaan Munir , Share Holders are not for charity. Today nobody is interested, if there is no money. pride does not play your bills. Let us look at some of the cricket boards, their survival itself is questioned like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zealand, WI etc.

Posted by Jaysz on (October 8, 2012, 7:09 GMT)

This shouldn't be called "Champions League", where 4 IPLs teams don't need to go through the qualifying round, but Auckland and Sialkot do! Sialkot Stallions, with by far the best record among all domestic T20 teams,i.e., 25 straight wins over more than four years without loosing a game, are given first chance. A bit unfortunate they have to go through a "knock-out" qualifying round.

Posted by   on (October 8, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

This is a ridiculous tournament. 4 IPL teams!!! Better to call it as Mini IPL.

If it would really have been a Champions League then it should have had 2 teams each from test playing nations and then we would have seen who is capable of winning.

Posted by jasif on (October 8, 2012, 5:48 GMT)

useless tournament. doing nothing for the good of the game. just a cash cow. ruining players. making national duty meaningless. all these money making tournaments should be ceased as soon as possible

Posted by Anurag_India on (October 8, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

This tournament could be so much more, only if the organizers could keep the number of teams from each country to a maximum of 2, players are asked to represent the team they played for during the domestic tournament and at least the champion team from each country does not have to go through qualification. Seriously do any Cricket administrators understand the word integrity at all.

Posted by Shahbaz Alam on (October 8, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

Agreed with the Firdose Moonda. No competition for others. This is not a Chaimpions Leage, this is to facilitate the frunchieses of IPL. No doubt, qualification team not commented on this but inside them I am sure they are not happy being domestic champion of one country, participating in CLT20 and still have to play Qualification Round. Come on lets be fair with all. Good that cricket pay dividents to "Investors" but money is not everything. Always earning of money is not a sensible thing. Plz be fair.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (October 8, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

I will cheers for Malik and his stations....

Posted by Udendra on (October 8, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

I think other teams should boycott this tournament. How can there be 4 IPL teams? what's the logic? India cannot even qualify for the world T20 semis!

Posted by   on (October 8, 2012, 4:14 GMT)

Why don't the boards of West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh, England and Sri Lanka form their own elite competition annually? The BPL is already bigger than the SA domestic competition by a long long way. The Caribbean T20 boasts more big names per capita than the Big Bash. The ECB competition has the best structure and organisation. Sri Lanka is the most consistent T20 nation on the planet. And Pakistan are ... well Pakistan. They are a brand unto themselves. Ajmal, Akmal, BOOM BOOM! Why do we need the Champions League?

Let's come together and have our own competition called the T20 World series. Have home and away games spread over a few months then have semis and finals each be a three match series.

Posted by   on (October 8, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

It would have been great if domestic T20 champs of international T20 teams participated in CLT20. Frankly 4 IPL teams means it isnt CLT20.

Posted by DrAtharAbbas on (October 8, 2012, 2:44 GMT)

Money makes the mare go! Why complain?

Posted by billy_bilal on (October 8, 2012, 2:26 GMT)

Indians have a good chance of winning this tournament as almost half of the teams are theirs.

Posted by da_man_ on (October 8, 2012, 1:09 GMT)

What they should do, is have 6 IPL teams, everyone else qualifies. If at least 3 IPL teams don't get to the next stage on points, there should be a "sudden eliminator" where non IPL teams at random are axed. Also, the final should contain at least two IPL teams, or the tournament should be cancelled, and the last CL IPL winner takes home the cup. Now that's how you organise a tournament to keep India happy, and hence earn money :)

Posted by   on (October 8, 2012, 0:10 GMT)

There's only one way to bring real credibility to the Champions League: take contro of it from the founding stakeholders and let the ICC run it. The format must be more transparently fair. It's just a blatent disrespect to teams from around the world to have 3/4 Indian teams in the tournament and have the champions of other countries qualify. SKEWED doesn't even come close to it.

This SHOULD be one of the most exciting tournaments in cricket. But owing to a serious lack of credibility, blatent bias and disrespectful format - it's just a little circus. Just a low-rent IPL...

Posted by anton111 on (October 7, 2012, 22:49 GMT)

Maybe England, WI, Pak, Bang and NZ cricket boards can pull their teams out of the current champions league come up with a more realistic rival 12 team Champions league with 2 teams each from India, England and Australia and 1 each from WI, NZ, SL, SA, Pak and Bang. If the Indian teams do not accept the invitation, then give their places to the Ireland and Afghanistan national teams. No unfair qualifying tournaments there.

Posted by   on (October 7, 2012, 22:24 GMT)

i gues one day we might see all ipl teams pre qualified in champions league and rest will have to go through qualification,the format of this tournament is extremely bizarre and unfair.

Posted by nskaile on (October 7, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

I think bcci should get rid of NZ and both England teams and add 3 more IPL teams to make it really intersting ;)

Posted by InsideHedge on (October 7, 2012, 22:02 GMT)

Good on these teams NOT to complain. Truth is that they are getting paid a whole lot of money for just showing up. If the ECB thinks they can set up a better "Champions League" then they should do so. Besides, the average English fan always boasts of Test cricket being the pinnacle, of how T20 is "hit 'n giggle", I can only assume then that they're not in the least bit bothered. Oh, and BTW, Miss Moonda, the stakeholders own the tournament, they set it up at a great cost, it's their rules. The tournament has made millionaires out of folks like Pollard, even Davy Jacobs has made a mint despite being an absolute flop for the Mumbai Indians.

Posted by Humas14 on (October 7, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

This system of 4 IPL teams has to be changed . There should be a maximum of 2 teams from each country . It should be like the winners go thro directly into the tournament and the runner ups go thro qualifiers .

Posted by EddieKhan on (October 7, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

A team top in their league is not evenly treated like forth of IPL team.. If you really need to have qualifying why dont you put at least 3rd and 4th of IPL teams in that table too...more than Champions league now its turning ard to be a commercial league T20

Posted by   on (October 7, 2012, 20:55 GMT)

its no Champions League.. its Money League... Delhi Daredevils were at 4th position and they are playing main round becoz this tournament is sponsored by BCCI CA and SA cricket.. so u shld give it the name . ( AIA Tournament) Australia,India,Africa) Tournament

Posted by   on (October 7, 2012, 20:46 GMT)


Posted by   on (October 7, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

This is a foolish way to start a tournament when the wining teams have to play qualifier and a loosing team will go directly to the tournament. Secondly number of teams selected from different countries are also not same.

Posted by umairasgharbutt on (October 7, 2012, 20:25 GMT)

CLT20 need alot of improvements !

Posted by   on (October 7, 2012, 19:48 GMT)

I agree, the IPL teams are just way too strong and hence no competition.

Posted by   on (October 7, 2012, 19:15 GMT)

Lets make it even simpler...only the top team from each participating country's domestic t20 tournaments should be given a green signal...shareholding ratios should be sent straight to the dustbin...

Posted by Hunbbel on (October 7, 2012, 18:45 GMT)

It is just another version of IPL. To be fair, every 'champion' should have been given a fair chance. How in the world can 4 IPL teams be inducted into the tournament straight away, and other champion teams are fighting their ways through the qualification criteria. I don't see that it will be a profitable venture, with the Wt20 just concluding.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (October 7, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

Sooner or later the CLT20 organizers need to make changes to the way teams 'play' in this tournament. First starters, the presence of 4 IPL teams needs to go away. I don't see a balance in the chances for other teams unless that happens. I kinda understand the TOP 2 teams from each domestic competition coming to this tournament though. But seriously, the 4 IPL team concept should be removed. We also need representatives from Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe for some balance. Then we can have a wonderful competition. Also, please remove the qualifiers, it's meaningless. Anyway, wish this tournament a wonderful success & God bless T20 cricket !!

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Tournament Results
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Syd Sixers won by 10 wickets (with 45 balls remaining)
Syd Sixers v Titans at Centurion - Oct 26, 2012
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Daredevils v Lions at Durban - Oct 25, 2012
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Daredevils v Titans at Centurion - Oct 23, 2012
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Auckland v Scorchers at Centurion - Oct 23, 2012
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