I am genuinely excited about the Champions League. No, really. I am Victorian and for too long Victorians have struggled to show their wares outside the odd game for Australia or England. Now they get a chance to play against the best other domestic teams of the world.
That doesn't mean the tournament is perfect. The marketing is incorrectly playing on the name of the tournament. "Only Champions. Only the Best."
Only Champions? That isn't true. Runners-ups are playing too. Lots of them, some of them are good, others are Somerset.
Only the Best. But not the best? The best-performed country in World Twenty20 championships is Pakistan; they are the superheroes of Twenty20 cricket. Rajasthan Royals had two pretty important Pakistani members in the first IPL team. Even in Australia they used them domestically. And the last ICL was won by Pakistanis.
When it comes to the term champions in this format, they should probably be first in line. The team that we miss out on is the Silky Stallions (actual title Sialkot, but Silky is snappier) who have won four out of a possible five Twenty20 titles in Pakistan. I have no idea if they are good, but I have no idea if Otago are either, I assume Otago aren't, but they get a chance to prove me wrong.
Pakistani cricketers have always been my favourite, and it seems wrong to not have them in a tournament like this. Especially when it isn't their fault. So many idiots have conspired to ensure that there should be an asterisk in the title of this tournament.
Even without the Pakistani boys, the tournament is missing some key elements of the bets; a Twenty20 tournament without Shane Warne or Shah Rukh Khan seems a little naked. Who will bring the Hollywood or the Bollywood? What will the Fake IPL Player write about in this tournament? Luckily there is still one key facet in this tournament.
Lalit Modi may not be everyone's cup of tea. There are far too many reasons I don't like him to mention here (I've never forgiven him for using two mobiles at once), but he does know how to throw a party, and he would never have a final on a school night like the ICC did for their "champions". The IPL may be over the top, loud, didactic, stage managed and crass, but it is definitely a party.
When the ICC hosts a tournament it is more like your parents throwing you a bash. They think they know what is cool, but they don't quite get it. They put on Maroon 5, invite over all your boring aunts and uncles, only have non-alcoholic drinks, and have the party on a weekday.
Lalit is more like the cool, slightly dodgy, uncle. He comes in with a DJ, free booze for everyone, invites your friends, and brings over famous people and the party goes crazy.
If Lalit's party works well, no one will care that Warne, SRK and the dudes from Pakistan didn't come, but if it turns lame, people might start wishing they had dropped by.