The 2010 Champions League Twenty20 will see two groups of five teams each competing in a round-robin format, with the top two sides from each group going through to the semi finals.
The set-up is a departure from the 2009 edition, which had four groups of three teams, with the two teams from each group advancing to another league stage which determined the semi-finalists. Despite the change, the tournament features the same number of matches - 23 - as last year. The matches have been evenly distributed across four venues, with each stadium hosting at least five games.
The Mumbai Indians open the event on September 10th against the South African side Lions at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, which also hosts the final on September 26. Mumbai and Lions are part of Group B, along with South Australia, Royal Challengers Bangalore and a team from the West Indies that will be determined in late July.
The teams drawn in Group A are the 2010 IPL champions Chennai Super Kings, Australia's Big Bash champions Victoria, South Africa's Pro Series champions Warriors, which is a combination of the Eastern Province and Border first-class teams, as well as Sri Lanka's Wayamba, which represents the North Western Province, and New Zealand's Central Districts.
The 2009 champions, the New South Wales Blues, did not qualify for the 2010 Champions League.
There are a number of players who are eligible to play for two teams: Jacques Kallis (Warriors, Bangalore), Mark Boucher (Warriors, Bangalore), Makhaya Ntini (Warriors, Chennai ), Kieron Pollard (South Australia, Mumbai), Dwayne Bravo (Victoria, Mumbai) and Cameron White (Victorian, Bangalore).
New Zealand's Ross Taylor is the first player to qualify with three teams - his home province Central Districts, and 'away' teams Victoria and Bangalore. Bravo and Kieron Pollard could join Taylor if T&T emerge as champions of West Indies' domestic Twenty20 competition.
If a player chooses to play for an 'away' team rather than his 'home' team (the team from the country he is eligible to represent in international cricket), the 'away' team must pay US$200,000 compensation to the 'home' team. No compensation is payable to an 'away' team if a player chooses to play for his 'home' team.
That being the case, South Australia are already resigned to losing Pollard and are waiting to learn whether Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi will be available. Pollard and Afridi were key components in the Redbacks qualifying for the lucrative Twenty20 event, but they were not part of the state's 20-man preliminary squad for the tournament.