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The winners of the Champions League

Why the teams themselves don't stand a chance, and the 40-over ODI

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Reggae singer Shaggy performs in Cologne, Germany, June 6, 2009
Shaggy: "Yes, my scarf is real cashmere" © Getty Images
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Series/Tournaments: Champions League Twenty20

Who will win the first Champions League? asked S Ramki from the USA
Cricket will be the winner. Do you really need to hear Ravi Shastri shrieking as much on the night of the final to know? Really, why play the damn thing at all? It's fixed for cricket to win.

Following close on cricket's heels will be Lalit Modi's close associates and family, who will be thanked six times in the space of two minutes on international television at the closing ceremony for their crucial part in the success of this epic event (i.e. for repeatedly voting in the poll that announced 82% of Indians thought Modi was the saviour of Indian cricket).

In third place is Shaggy, a reggae artist nicknamed after Matthew Hoggard or a cartoon character - everyone's forgotten which - in the demanding role of the mandatory somewhat-past-sell-by-date pop star who was persuaded to come and sing at the opening ceremony in exchange for large wads of cash.

Fourth is AR Rahman, composer of the theme "tune" for the tournament, who cleaned up big when his creation was licensed for use in the persuasion of recalcitrant prisoners at Guantanamo.

And bringing up the rear: the designers of the trophy, who, though they don't quite challenge the my-cat-could-have-done-better-in-three-minutes-while-on-cough-syrup majesty of the IPL trophy, come impressively close, with a creation that features different coloured petals lifting up a "platinum globe with emerald green stitching set in green gemstones" - i.e., cover your eyes and weep.

Is the 40-over ODI a good idea? asked Ratnakar Pant from India
It is a revolutionary idea. Researchers at the University of Western Australia have revealed that is, in fact, a full 10 overs per innings lopped off. That's 20 per match!

I'm all for it. Who wouldn't support an innovation that gets cricketers off the field and into their homes, where they can spend quality time playing cricket games on the Xbox, reading Steve Waugh's autobiography (only takes as much time as would be saved in the course of about 87 40-over ODIs), wearing Ed Hardy t-shirts, and lending their names to restaurants?

The 40-over ODI is done in five-and-a-half hours. Starts after lunch, is over in time to get to the bar for a drink or plenty. A far cry from the nerdy seven-hour marathon that is the current ODI. Seven hours is commitment, five is a fling. And we know, as of a few weeks ago what the coaching manuals have to say on that subject.

Less is more - and that's no bad thing in this case, when you consider commentary is among the many things there'll be less of with 40-over ODIs. There'll also be fewer ugly hoicks over midwicket, long hops, injuries, risible drops, bad umpiring calls, bad adverts, drinks breaks during which bad adverts are screened, rotten music on the PA, boring middle overs, people in the queues at the toilets and the snack stands, reprehensible hairdos on players, dodgy helmets on players, rain breaks, stupid banners, sledging, close-ups of fans with ugly sunglasses, bad teeth, hairy chests or all three; and fewer fans dressed as nuns, bears, Pooh or vampires.

In fact, there will be less cricket overall. And that can only be a good thing, for if there's anything we've learned over these last few years, it's that there's too much cricket..

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