Champions Trophy, India, 2006 April 2, 2006

Groups announced for Champions Trophy

Cricinfo staff and PTI



West Indies, winners in 2004, have to qualify for the 2006 Champions Trophy © Getty Images
England, India and Australia will face each other in the Champions Trophy, in India, during October. The groups were announced by Ehsan Mani, the president of the ICC, at a press conference in Goa.

The groupings were decided by the current one-day rankings table, which has Australia first, India third and England sixth. They form group A and will be joined by one of the teams from the qualifying tournament which consists of West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

The second qualifier who makes it through will join Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand in group B for the tournament. The competition is scheduled to start on October 7, with the qualifying matches, finishing on November 5 and includes 22 matches in 21 days.

There are still some issues to sort out regarding the event, but the ICC are hopeful everything will be finalised in the next two weeks. As yet there is still no decision on how many venues will be used, with the BCCI requesting an increase from three to four. They have proposed Mohali, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai as the locations.

Mani said: "The BCCI wanted to add a fourth venue due to the size of India and the demand of its members to host matches. The issue is over cost now and if it's not agreeable there's a chance it would be held only in three venues."

He added: "This is the first time since 1996 World Cup that so many full members of the ICC would be seen in action at the same time in India. We had wanted India to host it for a long time but the tax problem was the stumbling block. Now the BCCI has managed to get tax exemption from the Indian government to host the tournament.

"This is a very important tournament, generating a lot of revenue which is being used for the development of the game in associate member countries and elsewhere. We have distributed over 100 million dollars from this tournament's revenues from 2002 onwards."

With the amount of international cricket currently played and the fear of player burn-out there is a thought that some teams may not send their full squads to the tournament. However, Mani said that he would be disappointed if that happened and expected to see the best teams appearing in India.

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