October 21, 2009

Long live the Champions League

The tenacity of the South Africans, the efficiency of the Australians, and the flair of the Caribbean players have made the event an unqualified success
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Although sated locals seem to regard it as a flop, from further afield the Champions League Twenty20 has been thoroughly enjoyable. Indeed it has been the most compelling event of its sort staged in recent years. Long may it last.

Whereas many tournaments nowadays seem familiar and blunt, the Champions League has been alive and full of sharp edges. Apart from anything else it has evidently mattered significantly to the teams taking part, particularly those not used to competing against unknown sides in far-off places and all under television's exacting scrutiny. Somerset's chairman went so far as to describe his county's early victory as the "greatest night in the club's history", an exuberant remark to be sure, but showing the sort of excitement felt by several teams. As far as Marcus Trescothick was concerned, the Champions League was important enough to lure him back into his old life.

In short, it has been a competition played between ambitious, hungry teams that fought tooth and nail for the right to take part, surviving many challenges, overcoming provincial opponents, holding their nerve in the critical hour. To watch the faces of the support staff on the benches was to get the gist of it. Not a trace of weariness or cynicism could be sensed. To the contrary, all concerned were delighted to be taking part. Because the matches were sincere, they were also satisfying and entertaining. It is important to care. Sport is a passion play.

The Champions League appealed to observers on several fronts. Nothing gave more delight than the sight of Trinidad & Tobago, the Cape Cobras, and for that matter the Diamond Eagles, performing valiantly and surpassing expectations. All of them seemed to relish the occasion. Not the least of the Champions League's qualities is that it has reminded all and sundry that even in cricket, with all its stark isolations, with its exposing confrontations, harsh facts and cold figures, teams cannot be created out of thin air and deep pockets.

Several of the participants surprised on what economists are pleased to call "the upside", and all of them were genuine provincial teams. A fever could be detected in their gait. Inexperienced youngsters and seasoned campaigners alike responded to the clamour and met the challenge. Many of them have spent their entire careers playing in empty stadiums that seem to echo with irrelevance even as they apply themselves to their task with every ounce of skill at their disposal. Don't tell these chaps that the Champions League did not matter.

Meanwhile none of the feared IPL sides advanced to the semi-finals, not even the Deccan Chargers with their array of dashers or the talented collection representing Delhi Daredevils. Unavoidably it was merely another tournament for them. Plain and simple, the outfits with deep roots progressed and makeshift line-ups fell back. Whereas the IPL teams contained stars, veterans and a handful of locals, the visiting sides from Trinidad, South Africa and Australia had played together not for weeks but years turning into decades. By and large the players had emerged from youth teams, working their way through the ranks, making friends, gathering knowledge.

By all means continue to organise the IPL as it stands, with franchises bought and sold, stars signed and sacked, celebrities running around all over the place, and so on and so forth. But do not send those sides to the Champions League

Moreover, the Champions League was a huge opportunity for the unsung to prove their worth, to mix with the mighty, to make a packet. Admittedly it was often a close-run thing, but it's precisely in tight finishes that the teams with strong cores endure. Somehow such collaborations find a way to score those extra few runs or take those last wickets, to get the job done. They depend not on their outstanding abilities but upon each other. Put it down to desperation, will power, shared suffering, the ties that bind, whatever, but the results speak for themselves.

Arguably New South Wales and Victoria had the perfect combination of identity, experience and hunger. Although it was considered, neither state signed any imports. Neither took any shortcuts. New South Wales relied on their youngsters, while Victoria depended on the tried and trusted. Both strategies worked because the teams were united, the policy was clear and consistent and the players full of calibre. Along the way the Australian outfits overpowered some opponents.

As far as Indian cricket is concerned, the lessons are obvious. Suppose Delhi had won, what would it signify? By all means continue to organise the IPL as it stands, with franchises bought and sold, stars signed and sacked, celebrities running around all over the place, and so on and so forth. But do not send those sides to the Champions League. Better to arrange a domestic tournament with all provinces, proper teams with histories and traditions and structures, taking part.

It is not a question of effort. All of the overseas players are proud professionals and all of them play with their hearts as well as their heads. Just that theirs is a commitment that cannot be attained overnight. Perhaps, too, the provincial sides were on the rise and the IPL sides, dependent on older players, are in decline. For that matter the results shed doubt upon the standard as opposed to the showmanship on display in IPL. It'll be interesting to see how long IPL teams retain expensive stars unable to produce the expected returns. If they are serious about winning, as opposed to thrilling, then some will be given their cards. But legends are not so easily replaced. Without them, the IPL might lose some of its lustre.

The feats of the minor sides herald the Champions League's second attraction. Not only were the newcomers able to beat their highly regarded opponents, they were also bursting at the teams with fresh and gifted cricketers. Numerous exciting players previously limited to domestic matches were able to stretch themselves and pit themselves against the best in the game. Helped by a format that permits no inhibition, a version that encourages risk, they let loose with thunderous blows or brilliant interceptions in the field, or gasps of wickets or laughter. Quite a few neglected sons will have caught the eye of national selectors interested in their power and response to pressure.

Even old hands like Dirk Nannes informed their selectors that they are alive, well, available and fast. Amongst the Trinidadians, several caught the eye - spinners, speedsters and powerful batsmen. Kieron Pollard's assault on Moises Henriques was memorable but by no means isolated. In the final match before the semis, Adrian Barath, given his first opportunity, let loose an array of some scintillating off-side strokes, while Navin Stewart struck the ball with coruscating power. Established West Indians skulking in their tents might regret their inactivity.

Provided they are not spoilt by the sudden bulging of their bank accounts, the younger players taking part will return to the domestic ranks bristling with determination and confidence. Obviously it takes more than a few beefy blows in a 20-over tournament to convince selectors that a player has the characteristics needed to thrive in all forms of the game. But it is no small thing to travel overseas and score runs and take wickets in such illustrious company. Players from South Africa, especially, will go home with a spring in their step. Some of the Bloemfontein boys know they can mix it with the mighty, play in front of boisterous crowds and flourish. They know their cricket is not second rate. Moreover, their appetites have been whetted.

T&T's superb efforts served another purpose, reminding all and sundry about the attractions of West Indian cricket and how much has been lost in these days of incompetence, egotism and idleness. T&T, and for that matter the second-string West Indian side that appeared in the Champions Trophy, played with sufficient passion to shame the overwrought incumbents and their headstrong administrators.

Certainly T&T's performance gave frustrated observers food for thought. Daren Ganga's side played as a team partly because they are a team and represent a nation, or at any rate a group of islands that have long been bound together. T&T has an identity, a meaning, a sense of patriotism. Contrastingly West Indies is a cause not a country. In essence it is a cricketing artifice and a broken dream. Those convinced that the only lasting solution to the West Indies' cricketing problems is to break it up and let the islands play as individual nations found in T&T's thrilling display plenty to support their case.

In the shorter term, Ganga's captaincy has surely also put the cat among the pigeons. It was widely and justifiably praised. After all it's been a long time since any West Indian captain coaxed a performance as spirited from his side. Although Ganga's batting might not be quite up to scratch (he's hardly alone in that), the West Indian selectors ought to consider appointing him captain of their team to tour Australia. Apart from anything else it's unlikely that he'll arrive three days before the first Test match, appear disinterested, and spend his time complaining about administrators and money and the rest of it. T&T may have pointed the way forwards. A cause cannot compete with a country, or not for eternity anyhow.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • U.A.1985 on October 24, 2009, 7:47 GMT

    Fully agree with redneck. Beautifully put!!

  • JimDavis on October 23, 2009, 12:58 GMT

    Mr Roebuck, in all seriousness, the team that represents the West Indies is no more a collection of disparate countries than the team that represents England. At least the West Indies' players are able to go back and play for their respective countries any time they like, unlike the Irish or the Scots (or any player from an Associate nation for that matter) who get picked on a whim for England only to be discarded for the next X-factor winner, never able to return to play for their own country.

  • JimDavis on October 23, 2009, 12:29 GMT

    The tornament needs just a couple of small change - Include clubs from all the major cricket nations to aid diversity. Give it a specific 2 weeks each year or two on the ICC tours list. Move it to the West Indies and leave it there. (the various nations can share it round) Remember it is a TV sport this one, so make the cost to local spectators minimal or even free to as many as possible as full houses always look better on TV.

  • silverpie on October 23, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    There is a third possibility in the case of India--the five zonal teams (a 20/20 Duleep would be the effective qualifier). That is really what the South African "franchises" seem to be in effect--regional teams composed of multiple traditional state/county/etc. teams.

  • redneck on October 23, 2009, 0:47 GMT

    BangaloreKid, my friend! its 20twenty, most of the australian public dont care! its good to see nsw and vic do well but even if they didnt no one here really cares! the australian team bring people through the gate, thats where cricket supporters loyalty lies here! and the baggy green is still the ultimate goal for any aussie cricketer, hence why clarke, johnston or haddin have declined to take part in ipl for the first 2 years as their priority was being fit and refreshed for australian commitments! i fail to see how australia are second priority at all!

  • TwitterJitter on October 22, 2009, 18:55 GMT

    Just how rubbish is CLT20? Bravo plays for T&T in Caribbean. Then he plays in Australia for Big Bash followed by IPL and may be for Cape Cobras and Somerset in future. Take your pick. Depending on who qualifies he will play champions leage for them. Utter rubbish! This is making mockery of fans and viewing public. No loyalties, nothing! Cameron White signs up for BRC and then captains for VB against BRC! Nothing wrong with him playing for VB where he played most of his cricket. But then I would tell him to get the heck out of BRC. The players and administrators pretend their phony loyalties to IPL clubs by mixing and matching teams every other day and we are somehow supposed to cheer for them because they told us to. If somebody plays for BRC, I expect them to play for no other club other than BRC. That is how you build loyalty - win or loose.

  • TwitterJitter on October 22, 2009, 18:46 GMT

    @chinmayD- Utter rubbish. You seem to have your logic backwards. It is the job of state associations affiliated with BCCI to groom players, not IPL teams. The franchises in turn pay BCCI lots of money each year for first 10 years as part of buying a team. If the domestic talent is not there, blame state associations who get the divided share of the booty from BCCI, not the franchises. They will get to use players from BCCI's talent pool whom they buy during auction and are only available to them for 6 weeks of IPL and during CL, if they make it. Ranji teams will fare even worse. Having 25-30 ranji teams only dilutes quality. Franchises buy players for a 6-week window. Thats it. They have no rights on players after that. The bigger problem is some state associations like Rajasthan have not contributed a national player in long time but still get 1/25th share of money from BCCI. CLT20 where a player signs up for 6 clubs in 6 nations is utter rubbish and does not get any loyalty from fans

  • Rahulbose on October 22, 2009, 18:27 GMT

    Celebrity Players vs Team players is a relevant debate given the results. Thanks for highlighting this key fact. Although, this issue is not limited to IPL, even soccer leagues like Real Madrid have gone the road of IPL teams and suffered. The organizers of IPL obviously hope their teams one day will enjoy similar loyalty and pride from its players and fans. But so far this champions league has been similar to the World XI vs Aus series.

  • cowcornerDOTorg on October 22, 2009, 17:20 GMT

    This great tourney proves the contention that all the BS we put up with is caused by the footy crowd that has to see a "great man". Those that love the sport don't give a flyin' flip who's playing if it's good cricket.

    So you have teams that have cherry picked the popular world talent, and they have been driven into the turf by squads of county veterans.

    All of you that say...but it needs the money, note how all that money was naught against a side with a decent mental concept of what T20 is about.

  • shashreekroy on October 22, 2009, 16:59 GMT

    The champions league T20 has shown very clearly that teams are made out of players who know each other well and play with each other. A team comprises players with good mutual understanding, players who are willing to put their hand up for each other. The failure of the IPL teams showed that merely putting a bunch of stars into a playing eleven doesn't make a successful team. The one team that has stood out in the tournament has been Trinidad and Tobago with their ability to play as one unit and their passion and spirit generated by their captain Darren Ganga. The other thing this champions league has done is thrown light on players like C.de villiers, Pollard, Holland, and Barath most of whom were unknown to the masses. These players have really turned the heads of both spectators and selectors. The champions league has really opened a whole new world of cricket.

  • U.A.1985 on October 24, 2009, 7:47 GMT

    Fully agree with redneck. Beautifully put!!

  • JimDavis on October 23, 2009, 12:58 GMT

    Mr Roebuck, in all seriousness, the team that represents the West Indies is no more a collection of disparate countries than the team that represents England. At least the West Indies' players are able to go back and play for their respective countries any time they like, unlike the Irish or the Scots (or any player from an Associate nation for that matter) who get picked on a whim for England only to be discarded for the next X-factor winner, never able to return to play for their own country.

  • JimDavis on October 23, 2009, 12:29 GMT

    The tornament needs just a couple of small change - Include clubs from all the major cricket nations to aid diversity. Give it a specific 2 weeks each year or two on the ICC tours list. Move it to the West Indies and leave it there. (the various nations can share it round) Remember it is a TV sport this one, so make the cost to local spectators minimal or even free to as many as possible as full houses always look better on TV.

  • silverpie on October 23, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    There is a third possibility in the case of India--the five zonal teams (a 20/20 Duleep would be the effective qualifier). That is really what the South African "franchises" seem to be in effect--regional teams composed of multiple traditional state/county/etc. teams.

  • redneck on October 23, 2009, 0:47 GMT

    BangaloreKid, my friend! its 20twenty, most of the australian public dont care! its good to see nsw and vic do well but even if they didnt no one here really cares! the australian team bring people through the gate, thats where cricket supporters loyalty lies here! and the baggy green is still the ultimate goal for any aussie cricketer, hence why clarke, johnston or haddin have declined to take part in ipl for the first 2 years as their priority was being fit and refreshed for australian commitments! i fail to see how australia are second priority at all!

  • TwitterJitter on October 22, 2009, 18:55 GMT

    Just how rubbish is CLT20? Bravo plays for T&T in Caribbean. Then he plays in Australia for Big Bash followed by IPL and may be for Cape Cobras and Somerset in future. Take your pick. Depending on who qualifies he will play champions leage for them. Utter rubbish! This is making mockery of fans and viewing public. No loyalties, nothing! Cameron White signs up for BRC and then captains for VB against BRC! Nothing wrong with him playing for VB where he played most of his cricket. But then I would tell him to get the heck out of BRC. The players and administrators pretend their phony loyalties to IPL clubs by mixing and matching teams every other day and we are somehow supposed to cheer for them because they told us to. If somebody plays for BRC, I expect them to play for no other club other than BRC. That is how you build loyalty - win or loose.

  • TwitterJitter on October 22, 2009, 18:46 GMT

    @chinmayD- Utter rubbish. You seem to have your logic backwards. It is the job of state associations affiliated with BCCI to groom players, not IPL teams. The franchises in turn pay BCCI lots of money each year for first 10 years as part of buying a team. If the domestic talent is not there, blame state associations who get the divided share of the booty from BCCI, not the franchises. They will get to use players from BCCI's talent pool whom they buy during auction and are only available to them for 6 weeks of IPL and during CL, if they make it. Ranji teams will fare even worse. Having 25-30 ranji teams only dilutes quality. Franchises buy players for a 6-week window. Thats it. They have no rights on players after that. The bigger problem is some state associations like Rajasthan have not contributed a national player in long time but still get 1/25th share of money from BCCI. CLT20 where a player signs up for 6 clubs in 6 nations is utter rubbish and does not get any loyalty from fans

  • Rahulbose on October 22, 2009, 18:27 GMT

    Celebrity Players vs Team players is a relevant debate given the results. Thanks for highlighting this key fact. Although, this issue is not limited to IPL, even soccer leagues like Real Madrid have gone the road of IPL teams and suffered. The organizers of IPL obviously hope their teams one day will enjoy similar loyalty and pride from its players and fans. But so far this champions league has been similar to the World XI vs Aus series.

  • cowcornerDOTorg on October 22, 2009, 17:20 GMT

    This great tourney proves the contention that all the BS we put up with is caused by the footy crowd that has to see a "great man". Those that love the sport don't give a flyin' flip who's playing if it's good cricket.

    So you have teams that have cherry picked the popular world talent, and they have been driven into the turf by squads of county veterans.

    All of you that say...but it needs the money, note how all that money was naught against a side with a decent mental concept of what T20 is about.

  • shashreekroy on October 22, 2009, 16:59 GMT

    The champions league T20 has shown very clearly that teams are made out of players who know each other well and play with each other. A team comprises players with good mutual understanding, players who are willing to put their hand up for each other. The failure of the IPL teams showed that merely putting a bunch of stars into a playing eleven doesn't make a successful team. The one team that has stood out in the tournament has been Trinidad and Tobago with their ability to play as one unit and their passion and spirit generated by their captain Darren Ganga. The other thing this champions league has done is thrown light on players like C.de villiers, Pollard, Holland, and Barath most of whom were unknown to the masses. These players have really turned the heads of both spectators and selectors. The champions league has really opened a whole new world of cricket.

  • ChinmayD on October 22, 2009, 15:25 GMT

    @ Banglorekid: You are forgetting an important point. IPL teams are just money making ventures. The other institutions are the community institutions that keep grassroots cricket alive.

    To ask Australian teams to pay their players IPL-style contracts to compete in CLT20 is ridiculous! They also have to make other investments, such as running grade cricket, running development programs etc which IPL teams need not bother with.

    I personally believe IPL teams should not be a part of this tournament. Ranji Trophy teams should have their own T20 tournament during the domestic season and they should represent India in CLT20.

  • SixOrANix on October 22, 2009, 14:57 GMT

    The Champions League has got a lot of potential and a lot of positives have come out of this tournament. With a bit of tweaking this could become one of the highlights of everyones calender. The tweaking would most definately be to take the top 2 sides of the 8 major playing countries. Don't know if all the major countries do play their own T20 championships, but if not they ought too. The finalist in each domestic competition would advance to this Champions League.

  • kaushal29 on October 22, 2009, 13:35 GMT

    Agree with CricFan that people want to shoot down IPL. I guess money attracts it's fair share of jealousy. People need to understand that IPL teams are hardly a year and a half old and studded with int'l players who are busy round the year. This year, most of them had come straight from the Champions Trophy and there was hardly any time between them. Delhi would have been a different team with AB and Dan available. Peter, though I agree with most of what you say, you come across as someone who cheers for David. Well if underdogs winning makes you happy then Happy Happiness.

  • U.A.1985 on October 22, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    @rsgarcia

    Yes Pak cricket board did instruct its players not to travel to India only after Indian Government's refusal to accept Pak players in India. Besides this no one here is saying that Pak has won CLT20. People are only expressing their disappointment over not seeing the best T20 players in the world i.e. players from World T20 Champion Team = Pakistan.

  • Cric_123 on October 22, 2009, 11:55 GMT

    Empty stands is the stadia of world's most populous cricketing nation, a country full of cricket crazy public, speak volumes about the success of this tournament!!

    Lets have a look at the participating teams. Three each from India and Australia (8th and 12th Placed teams, at best, in T20 worldcup), ONLY 4 teams from SA, WI and Sri (the 2 losing semifinalists and the runners up team) and NONE from Pakistan (The world Champions)...Well lets re-brand the tournament as LOSER's LEAGUE..

    Regarding IPL Teams: I hope they will realize now that a good team is not made up of money alone...

  • gths on October 22, 2009, 11:00 GMT

    Australian cricket at the mercy of Indian crowds? What Indian crowds?

  • prakash2007 on October 22, 2009, 10:59 GMT

    Australians West Indians South Africans all doin well in CL... They bond well.. They are friends. IPL is a farce.. Dont send thm to CHampions League.. Mr Peter,,,,,So. why the hell their National Teams dont have the cup of World T20.. It reads India 2008 Pakistan 2009.... Do some soul Searching....

  • coeurlion on October 22, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    Remember, this is the INAUGURAL CLT20. It's a good idea, but a lot of bugs need to be ironed out. First, other nations regional/provincial/state teams would be invited (eg. Pakistan). Second, NO IPL TEAMS! A franchise is VERY different to a regional team. India should submit a Ranji Trophy team. Third, all countries must be EVENLY represented (either only T20 winners or T20 winners and runners-up). Lastly, the CLT20 must travel. Other nations must play the host, otherwise it's a glorified IPL.

  • Dr.Mohit on October 22, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    Having followed Peter Roebuck's articles religiously, I am amazed about his views on the IPL sides in the CLT20 and find them ridiculous. True that the IPL sides depend on established international stars but its the way that these teams have been constructed. While most of the provincial teams have long histories and players have been playing together for years but it wasn't exactly the lack of camaraderie that hurt the IPL sides. If just the fly cam cable was to disappear from Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore could have been through to the semis and Delhi too were left wondering when suddenly some key players in Vettori and Collingwood were injured.. This weak showing by the IPL sides is just a one off incident and come the next Champions League records will be set straight.. Hope Peter that you just have this comment of mine in logs somewhere till then..

  • Herbet on October 22, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    One thing the CLT20 has done is highlight the pointlessness of having so many teams in England. The South African & Australian (& T&T too) teams are pretty much international standard, so obviously when they play each other at home the standards of the games are high, technique is tested and quality players are produced. I believe there are 6 1st Class Teams in SA and Aus and there are 18 in England. The result is that in comparison Somerset and Sussex have looked pretty weak and rely too heavily on overeas layers whereas they have none. I believe if England are to progress to Australia and South African levels of quality we need a tier above the county championship made up of 4 franchises/regions + Scotland & Ireland/Netherlands. We can still keep the Championship as 3 day games like they have in SA as the equivalent of grade cricket. We might have a chance of winning the CL if the talent wasn't spread so thinly.

  • ramkip on October 22, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    IPL teams - Royal Challengers and Dare Devils won two matches and lost two matches - Same number of matches won and lost as Victorians. Luck was in favour of Victorians and they lead the league in second round! RCB lost the match with CC because of JP. CC again are lucky as only JP and Davids are consistent. Puttick scored just 21 runs in 3 matches. Deccan Chargers lost two close matches - First one worse as they became complacent when they found themselves leading as per D/L and also got 7 Somerset wickets midway. Only NSW and T&T are consistent. I would like see them battling again in finals as others don't deserve to be there.

  • zak123kaif on October 22, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    The intensity with which banglore crowd cheered for ross taylor was amazing to see.it also deletes the fact that indian crowd like only indian players.hope that in coming years many more players will leave many indian fans in champions league.

  • Sarayu on October 22, 2009, 6:43 GMT

    Roebuck's reading of the situation in the West Indies is unfortunately rather accurate. And if the passion with which Usain Bolt represents Jamaica, or the T&T team is playing in the Champions League can exist only in relation to a more meaningful political unit, then perhaps it is time to bid the Windies good bye. Anything is better than the current "first" Windies team. Even their second string side is more endearing.

  • mayuri78 on October 22, 2009, 5:48 GMT

    Frankly I didn't like the Champions League. The idea was great but without teams from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe it is not true Champons League.

  • TwitterJitter on October 22, 2009, 5:02 GMT

    The fact that IPL teams had an advantage in this competition is a myth and it is even more so in coming years. The same talent pool of overseas players that is available to IPL at millions of dollars is also available to overseas clubs for pennies on a dollar. If player A gets 1 million from IPL he also signs up for a different overseas club for 20k. If his IPL club is not in, he will be right back in CLT20 with his overseas club.Already NSW, VB, and a few others are in talks for overseas players for pennies from next year. I dont see what advantage IPL teams will have unless they enforce the sensical rule of one-player one-club at a time. This is essentially the difference between EPL teams in soccer and IPL teams in cricket where contracts are exclusive to a club in the globe at any given time - not one-player one-club in a given country.

  • TwitterJitter on October 22, 2009, 4:51 GMT

    One major flaw with CLT20 model is having a player play for multiple clubs. If IPL plays an overseas player $1 mill for his services, the same player signs with a couple more overseas clubs for about $25-30 k. Come champions league, if his IPL team is not in, he is still in Champions league with one of those other clubs. Essentially, IPL will be hugely overpaying a overseas player while some of those same players are avaiable to overseas players for pennies on a dollar. To prevent this, make one-player one-club rule. If they think their non-IPL club is important let them settle for 20-25k contracts. They can't have it both ways - getting million dollar IPL contracts and then playing for some overseas club in champions league if their IPL team fails to qualify. This is the difference in soccer where EPL teams have advantage because of this rule.

  • TheMatchReferee.com on October 22, 2009, 2:24 GMT

    It's too early to write off the IPL teams in future events. The concept is still young and there is far too much money at stake and intelligent minds involved for IPL teams' performance in this edition to be taken as rote for all future editions.

    I agree about Ganga as captain of the Windies. That has a lot of merit. I just cannot agree that splitting up the Windies into individual countries will do anything for cricket. Remember, this is essentially a domestic tournament and international cricket is a BIG step up.

  • vish515 on October 22, 2009, 0:48 GMT

    Cant agree more with the comments made by CricFan78 .. bang on the money.

  • Loiterer on October 22, 2009, 0:41 GMT

    There was no logical place for the IPL teams in this competition - yet, of course, this competition would not have come into existence if it were not for the IPL teams. This has led to the Champions League having a farcial aspect as it is being fought by a few fake (IPL) teams alongside real teams.

    I am glad to see from the other comments that the Ranji teams are playing 20/20. The winning Ranji teams should be there next year instead of the IPL teams (and obviously also domestic teams from Pakistan, Bangladesh etc.)

  • Uranium on October 21, 2009, 21:17 GMT

    The good thing is that the players are hungry. There's no complaints of workload and duty. Its just great to see new talent and a no-excuses enthusiastic approach. Pollard, Roussow, McKay etc. have been refreshing revelations.

    And noone can complain about the standard - we've seen IPL teams knocked out in their own backyards by hungrier opponents. NSW is playing better T20 cricket than many national squads - including Australia.

    Its a pity there was no Pakistani team. I hope that situation is rectified in coming years.

    Its astonishing that Indian domestic cricket is so weak. The IPL teams have embarrassed themselves. They need to use some their cash to build a proper domestic structure from the top down. One can only think that the lower levels of cricket in India are riddled with corruption and don't offer a fair go. A nation with 1.2 Billion should be better than this.

  • TwitterJitter on October 21, 2009, 20:50 GMT

    @redneck- What this tournament also confirms is that Australian cricket is at the mercy of Indian board and its public. They have given up on people like you and pandering to Indian crowds its rupees. I feel for you and other Australian fans mate. You are a second priority to them! Indian crowds come first even for your players! How's that for a change! :-)

  • rsgarcia on October 21, 2009, 20:02 GMT

    To redneck, sorry but Ganga is NOT retired. He's very eligible for selection, they just would never consider him due to politics and his lack of runs at the international level (which would probably be a lot better if the selectors didin't lie in wait for any failure to toss you out on your ear). And to those lamenting Pakistan's non-appearance, please remember it was the Pakistan board who refused to let the players travel to India. It's not the organisers fault if an invitation is refused. I think this tournament would have been exciting with or without them. Just because their international team won a trophy, doesn't mean they would have won this tournament.

  • Mike_in_Exile on October 21, 2009, 19:27 GMT

    I posted earlier saying that Bangladeshi and Zimbabwean teams should be included. I should of course have added that Pakistani teams MUST be included if this is to be a true world championship of T20. Javedda and Umaird are quite right.

  • addiemanav on October 21, 2009, 18:15 GMT

    i am not quite sure if roebuck's assesment that tournament is a great success may not be as correct or straightforward as it looks like.i believe that i am the craziest cricket fan ever,there was a time when i would even watch zim vs bang,but seriously i havnt really cared about this champions league.this is actually disturbing indian cricket's future.

  • Javedder on October 21, 2009, 15:55 GMT

    what type of a Champions League is it with no team from Pakistan - the WORLD CHAMPIONS of T20 and undoubtedly the best T20 team in the world! Sialkot Stallions have won 4 out of the last 5 domestic championships and i think without a team from the World Champions, this Champions Trophy is not complete... This is like playing a soccer world cup without brazil or the english premier league without manchester united!

  • stanlee on October 21, 2009, 15:26 GMT

    Peter's points are valid for the most part.Regarding Ganga's captaincy for the West Indies team, while it is the sensible choice it is not likely to occur.It appears that Gayle's position is secure regardless of his obvious deficiencies as leader.The politics of West Indies will not allow the choice of Ganga anymore than it allowed the choice of Sarwan as skipper.Engrained practices of the WICB for many decades means that some players can get a free pass for selection regardless of performance while others sit on the sidelines.How else can one explain the continued selection of failed players such as Devon and Dwayne Smith,M Samuels,D Powell,R Morton,S Benn etc, while excluding D Mohammed,S Chattergoon,A Jaggernauth and N Deonarine, among others from West Indies' teams. No, the answer to this age old dilemma is to go it alone as the T&T have done so successfully in India.Incidentally the T&T team not surprisingly,has yet to receive any congratulations from the WICB.

  • umaird on October 21, 2009, 14:56 GMT

    Well, in my opinion the Champions League is a complete and total farce. To have no Pakistan representation is a blatant and shameless attempt yet again to marginalize the country. Pakistan has by far the best T20 team in the world (a brief trip to stats guru will confirm this to anyone who is yet to be enlightened) and Sialkot are the undisputed domestic T20 champions. To deny them the opportunity to play in this tournament is cricket's loss.

  • sunfish on October 21, 2009, 14:40 GMT

    Those who are quick to suggest that the West Indies team should split because they are not one nation do not understand that folk like myself, who were fortunate to have been born in these islands, feel a great kinship to the people of the entire region. I was born in Grenada but think of myself as West Indian, part of region that I have so much in common with. This is the glue that binds us together and will keep us together.

  • nyallj on October 21, 2009, 14:27 GMT

    From the start of the IPL it was discussed just how good a 'team' would be with short-termed 'stars' coming and going for a few weeks. Now the evidence is coming out in the Champions League. But being from Guyana, I was wondering when we would start hearing 'Ganga for WI captain'. How many times are we to see Ganga fail at top-level cricket before we get it in our heads he's best left alone where he is now? Ganga is the first cricketer that must have been picked on his captaining skills, rather than cricketing ability (remember he was captain for this very reason once upon a time). Please don't let him embarrass himself further. Gayle is captain, well...Gayle is captain. Enough said. Pick the rest based on merit (Gayle picks himself any day). riverlime says it right about Peter's comments about 'striking' players.

  • Mike_in_Exile on October 21, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    I pretty much agree with Peter's assessment, I just want to add a few observations. 1) There actually is now a Ranji-trophy-style 20-20, which is happening right now in India. 2) One of the things that sparked my interest in the Champions League is that for the first time (as far as a I know) there is a recognised global tournament in any format for sub-national teams. I'd like to see a 50-over equivalent, and even a first-class equivalent, although that will probably never happen for financial reasons. 3) Bangladeshi teams (and possibly even Zimbabwean ones, now that they seem to be sorting out their domestic structure) should be included - this may not add much in terms of spectator and sponsor appeal, but for the tournament to be a true world championship of the T20 format, all full member nations should be represented.

  • Itmatters on October 21, 2009, 13:49 GMT

    Great tournament maybe but it lost signifcance without teams from the world champions Pakistan.

  • promal on October 21, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    I am so happy that all the IPL teams flopped, in spite of being a supporter of the Indian national team! But my reasons are quite different. Firstly, to have franchises and regional teams in the same competition is completely meaningless. Also, with this situation, you end up having players who are eligible to play for more than 1 team. That's completely ridiculous and won't be accepted in any other sport. However, most importantly, IPL teams flopping means that the interest in India wanes, which means that the administrators will be wary of organising another CLT20. If IPL's failure means the IPL itself fails and the CLT20 also fails, that can only be a good thing because I absolutely detest Twenty20 cricket.

  • avas on October 21, 2009, 12:51 GMT

    yes , the difference between IPL and Champions Leagues is that of between domestic cricket and International Cricket.. and you feel the domestic T20 seasons of RSA, WI and Aus are much meaningful then IPL

  • NBRADEE on October 21, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    All these comment reflect a lot of passion and interest for a version of the game which was being ridiculed as much as one month earlier (England's Pro 40). Roebuck has highlighted many facts that illustrate the cauldron of entropy that is T20 cricket in evolution. My greatest fear? The ICC does not learn how to manage this evolution in its midst - rules need to be set for players with respect to how many teams you can play for, to ensure that franchises can build lasting brand equity. If it is a league, how then can it fit 'tournament' dimensions? Fan support wil fill stadia when there is greater brand equity in each team, and sadly, this will not be the case for participating West Indian nation teams in the future. Sovereign nation status will not allow them to have on display etra-regional talent. The number of teams should be eight, each representing the region from which they emerge as the champion team.

  • Sekhar_S on October 21, 2009, 9:21 GMT

    You have been a bit harsh on the IPL teams,Peter.Blame not the team owners or the Bollywood stars but the players.They did not do the basics on the field.AB de Villiers was not there,so Owais Shah should have shouldered the responsibility in his place.Vettori's absence means additional responsibility for Amit Mishra.Apart from Gilchrist,Symonds,Rohit Sharma and Gibbs/Dwayne Smith,noone else could bat well for Deccan as was evident in the IPL.The Royal Challengers exhibited amazing team spirit with Kumble egging his boys on but somehow that did not translate into success.These are lessons which the IPL teams will take away from here.I strongly feel that gelling well as a unit is NOT the reason for the teams' success.If so,then we would have seen Wayamba and Otago in the second stage now.Remember,the Aussie teams have signed up overseas players for the forthcoming Big Bash and it remains to be seen if they will meet a similar fate of the IPL teams in the next CL.

  • Nipun on October 21, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    I disagree with Roebuck on a number of points.The Champions League may hold value,but this edition has been a total letdown.Most of the pitches were horribly poor,almost 50% of the matches were meaningless(e.g.Delhi vs Cobras),the crowd has been shocking throughout,apart from the matches featuring an Indian team,there has been too many weak teams(although it's not the tournament's fault),& the format of the league is poor.The attendance though would have been the same in Sri Lanka,Pakistan,Australia,etc.so it would have been best to organise the tournament in Bangladesh,because there are no Bangladeshi teams participating & thus the attendance would have been neutral & humongous.I don't know what made Modi to include only 1 team from the West Indies,Sri Lanka,& New Zealand-the top 2 teams from the top 8 test playing nations would have been the perfect team lineup.Also,the format needs to be the league format of the IPL,not such group & knock-out fixtures from the very beginning.

  • Chestnutgrey on October 21, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    The failure of the IPL teams was not entirely unexpected. It must be noted that many of the Australian Superstars playing for IPL teams like Gilchrist, Symonds, McGrath failed to deliver. There are obvious reasons for this. Other members like Steyn, Edwards, Styris, DIlshan etc. also did not cover themselves with glory. Also, the fielding by the Indians was absolutely pathetic and that is what has made much difference. It was a pleasure to watch the fielding, batting and bowling of the teams from SA, T&T and Australia. Brilliant. Maybe for the Champions League only Indian players should be allowed in the IPL teams. That'll give a better indication of the status of domestic cricket in this country.

  • Foreman_Cumbria on October 21, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    It's premature to call the IPL over-rated...the IPL teams and similarly the county teams didn't spend a long one month preparing. Victoria, NSW, Eagles, and Cobras concentrated on intensive pre-tournament preparation. For the IPL teams...the incentive to win is not as much as the incentive for the other teams in terms of monetary value. Examples are Symmonds, Dilshan (20-20 player of the year), Van der Merwe....these are 20-20 world-class players but failed miserably in this tournament...and the format of the tournament was always going to spring a surprise...

  • riteshjsr on October 21, 2009, 7:51 GMT

    While I agree with Mr.Roebuck's assessment that 'outfits with deep roots', with players that have played together for years outperformed the 'makeshift line-ups' of the IPL teams, the format of the tournament and the luck factor also played a role in the progress / falling away of teams. Victoria finds itself in the semi finals despite losing to Wayamba and Cape Cobras, while Delhi is out of the tournament despite winning / losing the same number of matches as Victoria. The other point that I want to highlight is that while we keep referring to the IPL sides as star studded, fact is that the non IPL teams also have some big names. For instance, NSW Blues has the likes of Lee, Clark, Warner, and Katich in their ranks. That said, a collection of superstars does not necessarily translate into a great team producing great results. Playing, winning, losing, and suffering together is what creates a sense of belonging and makes a team. NSW and T&T have given ample evidence.

  • riverlime on October 21, 2009, 7:50 GMT

    Ahh, Mr Roebuck....you keep harping on about "Established West Indians skulking in their tents", clearly ignoring the fact that it was the TTCB who initially set the ball rolling with a refusal to attend the WICB meeting. ALL T&T players, including Messrs. Bravo, Ramdin, Barath, Pollard, Simmons AND GANGA!!, who have played so wonderfully in this tournament, were part of the WICB player walkout. Please remember that this wasn't a "throw-the-toys-out-of-the-pram" temper tantrum, but carefully thought-out industrial stike action, by a team of legal experts. Your continued pooh-poohing of the players right to strike only undermines their standing in the eyes of the world, and weakens their position. You seem keen to fracture WI cricket along its naturally occurring faultlines, and once again I demur that such a desire is, as yet, temporally misplaced. Daren Ganga has alluded to as much.

  • Quazar on October 21, 2009, 7:23 GMT

    I agree with Peter on the cricketing success (if not commercial) of the Champions League, but I disagree with him on the reasons for the IPL teams' lack of success. On the cricketing success part, it has been a massive (and immensely thrilling) revelation to see the TnT team live up to their name! The Cobras, Eagles, Sabres and Blues have also been great to watch. But on the IPL teams, I think a few factors did them in: a) Very short preparation time, especially for such a short tourney with no time to get settled (eg. DC lost 2 very close games, and they were out), b) For DC, most of their stars were playing competitive cricket after quite a while (Gilly, Symmo, Styrus, Edwards), c) Surprise element of the talent in the other teams, d) And yes, less natural team bonding and perhaps lesser hunger to win in CL. But I'll bet the IPL franchises will learn and strike back hard next year! Just you wait! (Go Chargers, go!)

  • venkat_75r on October 21, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    For those who think that Indian domestic set up is not that good when compared with Australia or South Africa, it was the Indian emerging team which won the one day tournament in AUSTRALIA couple of months back. The IPL teams are not the domestic teams from India, they are just collection of players.

  • CricFan78 on October 21, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    I love the way people want to shoot down IPL and their franchises. Remind me how many matches did county teams with abundance of history and team spirit win? Just a single match which was helped by rain intervention causing slippery ball and wet outfield? Not everyone is blessed with history but history also started at some point and its true of IPL franchises as well. They have started just last year and people already expect miracles in T20 cricket where luck plays such a huge role.

  • 68704 on October 21, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    I think the Champions trophy demonstrates the value of the team over that of talented individiual players.Trinidad and Tobago have been a revealation and it is perhaps worth considering the thought that Austalia"s T20 team is not as good as the New South Wales team. It is still a mystery of how Australia manages to win despite the folly of Hilditch and co. I still cannot understand how both Nannes and Warner are not in the team to tour India. I think the six Australians from the team will have benefited from playing at Delhi definitely and should be more confident taking on India who seem less well prepared. It is a great marketing effort and sadly for India and Indians and television ratings, not a single IPL team is around. Something to think about and worry even. But the game is changing and so are the newer crop of confident players who are now striding the world stage. I am happiest however for Trinidad and tobagao, what a breath of fresh air to the confusion so far in the windies

  • Rajit on October 21, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    I partly agree with giribabu that best domestic players should be included in the IPL teams but the question is do we really have players of the calibare of Pollard,CJ Deviliers,Henry Davids,Barath,Mckay etc in India? these guys are not a part of their national team yet they showed the class at big stage.Can the likes of vinaykumar,B Akhil,Harmeet Singh,Azhar Bilakhia Mithun Manhas fall in that class? perhaps not...also where IPL teams lacked was the team spirit which other non-IPL teams showed in abundance...I think next IPL teams may come better prepared for CL T20 and not treat it with over confidence...

  • giribabu on October 21, 2009, 5:21 GMT

    Great article.. I always believed that the remix of players from all over the world cannot make a winning cricketing team. For ex. all super stars from the world could not beat Australia XI in the super series instead they got outplayed by huge margin. I urge the IPL franchisees to keep only the best domestic players and make a team out of it. They are more concerned about money returns than the team spirt, sentiment. As hyderbadi I would love to see all hyderabad players in the team. They might not be as great as Gilichrist and Symmonds but I would enjoy their cricket when they compete against the players who got mare caliber and talent no matter they win or lose. I enjoy when Venugopal Rao hits a six against Dayle Steyn than Symmonds hitting. The time has come to think about reducing foreign players in IPL. What IPL is doing is only the non-indians are making from Indian Economy. When all the cricketing world is looking at making money from Indian Public, BCCI is just supporting them

  • redneck on October 21, 2009, 3:19 GMT

    all this tournement has done is confirm to the cricket world what they already know. australia have a very strong domestic comp with south africa's not far behind, england have too many counties diluting their tallent pool, take away the glitz, glamour and hype of the ipl and you are left with teams of little substance (giving another example of a team of champions not always making a champion team!) and finally that the west indies still have tallented cricketers, its the WICB that is letting them down. nothing new! also i believe ganga announced his retirement from international cricket after the windies last south african tour, making him inelligable for west indies selection???

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  • redneck on October 21, 2009, 3:19 GMT

    all this tournement has done is confirm to the cricket world what they already know. australia have a very strong domestic comp with south africa's not far behind, england have too many counties diluting their tallent pool, take away the glitz, glamour and hype of the ipl and you are left with teams of little substance (giving another example of a team of champions not always making a champion team!) and finally that the west indies still have tallented cricketers, its the WICB that is letting them down. nothing new! also i believe ganga announced his retirement from international cricket after the windies last south african tour, making him inelligable for west indies selection???

  • giribabu on October 21, 2009, 5:21 GMT

    Great article.. I always believed that the remix of players from all over the world cannot make a winning cricketing team. For ex. all super stars from the world could not beat Australia XI in the super series instead they got outplayed by huge margin. I urge the IPL franchisees to keep only the best domestic players and make a team out of it. They are more concerned about money returns than the team spirt, sentiment. As hyderbadi I would love to see all hyderabad players in the team. They might not be as great as Gilichrist and Symmonds but I would enjoy their cricket when they compete against the players who got mare caliber and talent no matter they win or lose. I enjoy when Venugopal Rao hits a six against Dayle Steyn than Symmonds hitting. The time has come to think about reducing foreign players in IPL. What IPL is doing is only the non-indians are making from Indian Economy. When all the cricketing world is looking at making money from Indian Public, BCCI is just supporting them

  • Rajit on October 21, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    I partly agree with giribabu that best domestic players should be included in the IPL teams but the question is do we really have players of the calibare of Pollard,CJ Deviliers,Henry Davids,Barath,Mckay etc in India? these guys are not a part of their national team yet they showed the class at big stage.Can the likes of vinaykumar,B Akhil,Harmeet Singh,Azhar Bilakhia Mithun Manhas fall in that class? perhaps not...also where IPL teams lacked was the team spirit which other non-IPL teams showed in abundance...I think next IPL teams may come better prepared for CL T20 and not treat it with over confidence...

  • 68704 on October 21, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    I think the Champions trophy demonstrates the value of the team over that of talented individiual players.Trinidad and Tobago have been a revealation and it is perhaps worth considering the thought that Austalia"s T20 team is not as good as the New South Wales team. It is still a mystery of how Australia manages to win despite the folly of Hilditch and co. I still cannot understand how both Nannes and Warner are not in the team to tour India. I think the six Australians from the team will have benefited from playing at Delhi definitely and should be more confident taking on India who seem less well prepared. It is a great marketing effort and sadly for India and Indians and television ratings, not a single IPL team is around. Something to think about and worry even. But the game is changing and so are the newer crop of confident players who are now striding the world stage. I am happiest however for Trinidad and tobagao, what a breath of fresh air to the confusion so far in the windies

  • CricFan78 on October 21, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    I love the way people want to shoot down IPL and their franchises. Remind me how many matches did county teams with abundance of history and team spirit win? Just a single match which was helped by rain intervention causing slippery ball and wet outfield? Not everyone is blessed with history but history also started at some point and its true of IPL franchises as well. They have started just last year and people already expect miracles in T20 cricket where luck plays such a huge role.

  • venkat_75r on October 21, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    For those who think that Indian domestic set up is not that good when compared with Australia or South Africa, it was the Indian emerging team which won the one day tournament in AUSTRALIA couple of months back. The IPL teams are not the domestic teams from India, they are just collection of players.

  • Quazar on October 21, 2009, 7:23 GMT

    I agree with Peter on the cricketing success (if not commercial) of the Champions League, but I disagree with him on the reasons for the IPL teams' lack of success. On the cricketing success part, it has been a massive (and immensely thrilling) revelation to see the TnT team live up to their name! The Cobras, Eagles, Sabres and Blues have also been great to watch. But on the IPL teams, I think a few factors did them in: a) Very short preparation time, especially for such a short tourney with no time to get settled (eg. DC lost 2 very close games, and they were out), b) For DC, most of their stars were playing competitive cricket after quite a while (Gilly, Symmo, Styrus, Edwards), c) Surprise element of the talent in the other teams, d) And yes, less natural team bonding and perhaps lesser hunger to win in CL. But I'll bet the IPL franchises will learn and strike back hard next year! Just you wait! (Go Chargers, go!)

  • riverlime on October 21, 2009, 7:50 GMT

    Ahh, Mr Roebuck....you keep harping on about "Established West Indians skulking in their tents", clearly ignoring the fact that it was the TTCB who initially set the ball rolling with a refusal to attend the WICB meeting. ALL T&T players, including Messrs. Bravo, Ramdin, Barath, Pollard, Simmons AND GANGA!!, who have played so wonderfully in this tournament, were part of the WICB player walkout. Please remember that this wasn't a "throw-the-toys-out-of-the-pram" temper tantrum, but carefully thought-out industrial stike action, by a team of legal experts. Your continued pooh-poohing of the players right to strike only undermines their standing in the eyes of the world, and weakens their position. You seem keen to fracture WI cricket along its naturally occurring faultlines, and once again I demur that such a desire is, as yet, temporally misplaced. Daren Ganga has alluded to as much.

  • riteshjsr on October 21, 2009, 7:51 GMT

    While I agree with Mr.Roebuck's assessment that 'outfits with deep roots', with players that have played together for years outperformed the 'makeshift line-ups' of the IPL teams, the format of the tournament and the luck factor also played a role in the progress / falling away of teams. Victoria finds itself in the semi finals despite losing to Wayamba and Cape Cobras, while Delhi is out of the tournament despite winning / losing the same number of matches as Victoria. The other point that I want to highlight is that while we keep referring to the IPL sides as star studded, fact is that the non IPL teams also have some big names. For instance, NSW Blues has the likes of Lee, Clark, Warner, and Katich in their ranks. That said, a collection of superstars does not necessarily translate into a great team producing great results. Playing, winning, losing, and suffering together is what creates a sense of belonging and makes a team. NSW and T&T have given ample evidence.

  • Foreman_Cumbria on October 21, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    It's premature to call the IPL over-rated...the IPL teams and similarly the county teams didn't spend a long one month preparing. Victoria, NSW, Eagles, and Cobras concentrated on intensive pre-tournament preparation. For the IPL teams...the incentive to win is not as much as the incentive for the other teams in terms of monetary value. Examples are Symmonds, Dilshan (20-20 player of the year), Van der Merwe....these are 20-20 world-class players but failed miserably in this tournament...and the format of the tournament was always going to spring a surprise...