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July 4, 2012
West Indies Twenty20 champions Trinidad and Tobago will have to play qualifying matches for the second-year running to make it to the main draw of the Champions League, a situation that T&T chief operations manager Dudnath Ramkessoon termed 'unfortunate'.
Ramkessoon's comments came after a fourth IPL team was granted direct entry into the tournament, while the Twenty20 champions from the West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, and two teams from England, will have to compete in a pre-tournament qualifier for two remaining spots. Apart from the Indian teams, two teams each from Australia and South Africa gain direct entry.
"We have not received any word yet from the committee, but with regard to what has been reported, it is rather unfortunate that we have to participate in a play-off, seeing how well we have performed in our last two appearances," Ramkessoon was quoted as saying on the West Indies Players' Association website.
T&T were the runners up in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2009 and qualified for the main draw after topping their group last year.
"Being the champions of the West Indies and given how well we have played, you would have thought we would have gone to the main draw because of the quality of our play and the fact that people like to see us play."
However, Ramkessoon added that T&T would ensure it played its strongest team, to top the qualifying and leave nothing to chance.
"We are aiming to top that group to ensure that we qualify. We will prepare with that in mind," he said.
Three of T&T's top players - Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine - are contracted to play for IPL teams. But discussions have been initiated with a view to having these players representing T&T in the tournament.
The CLT20 will be played between October 9 and 28 this year. Cape Town, Johannesburg, Centurion and Durban have been named as venues for the tournament, though the dates and venues for the qualifiers, as well as the schedule, are yet to be released.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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