The cricket world is making full use of the popularity the game is now enjoying by announcing the conformation that a cricket champions league will take place this year. This follows hot on the heals of the world wide success and appeal that the IPL generated.
While soccer has enjoyed a champions league for a long time, with the best teams and best players from the European leagues taking part, and the prize the most sought after in club football, cricket has been slow to join the band wagon. No longer is this the case, and should the event prove to be as successful as hoped it will no doubt be here for the long term.
The event has been confirmed for either India or the Middle East, and should take place over 10 days, featuring 15 matches, in around about September/October this year. There will be a large cash prize for the winners, but teams finishing second, third and fourth will also be rewarded handsomely.
The competition will be made up of the domestic T20 finalists from England, Australia, India (the IPL) and South Africa. Englands T20 competition has just begun and only the two teams from their series are yet to be decided. The finalists there will join Western Australia and Victoria from Australia, the Rajasthan Royals and Channai Super Kings from India as well as the Dolphins and Titans from South Africa.
There are still some finer logistical points to work out, such as which team players who feature in more than one of the competing teams will turn out for. Albie Morkel for example is eligible for both the Titans and Channai and could have his county team Durham involved as well. The right thing would be for him to turn out for his home domestic team – the Titans, but because he is contracted as an overseas player for both Channai and Durham, they will lay claim to him as well. Money may talk louder than morals, as it often does, and don’t be surprised if Morkel is told to play for Channai over the Titans.
Should the competition prove to be a success than future series should involve teams from Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, bringing all Test playing nations into the loop. However with issues over lack of calender time to fit it in, it is likely that they may keep it small, meaning that perhaps only the champions of the domestic competitions and not both finalists will take part in a bigger event.
For now the news is a welcome one for domestic cricket and cricket in general.