Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Cricket Champions League - A Crash Course

When England and Australia introduced cricket to the world over a century ago, little did they know that one day their regional teams will be vying to play in a competition being held in India, which over a century ago was being ruled by the British.

Who would have believed back then that one day Middlesex will be taking on Victoria in Mumbai.

That is exactly what will be happening on the inaugral day of the Champions League.

The one cricket spectacle that can catch the imagination of billions around the world was launched in Delhi last week.

The first ever Champions League will take place between December 3rd and 10th in India.

Lalit Modi and company officially launched the competition this Thursday where the draws for the groups were held and various awards were given out to top 20-20 performers of the season.

Even though the teams are not actually cricket clubs, the involvement of regional / state teams from domestic competitions of test playing nations in a tournament, is the first baby step towards promoting club cricket around the world.

Football, arguably the most popular sport in the world, has relied on the 'club culture' for over a century and there's no reason why cricket cannot replicate the formula for taking the sport to a wider global audience.

The number of doors that this can open for cricket are unimaginable in my view.

Here's a look at what the Champions League will throw our way.

The Groups & The Teams

Group A:
Victoria Bushrangers
Middlesex Crusaders
Pretoria Titans
Chennai Super Kings

Group B:
Rajasthan Royals
Sialkot Stallions
Natal Dolphins
Western Warriors

Bushrangers, Crusaders, Titans, Super Kings, Royals, Stallions, Dolphins, Warriors - ever seen such a diverse mix of participants in any sort of competition?

Reminds me of the WWE!

You've got royalty, you've got men going for battle, you've got animals, you've got fish, and you've got gardeners!

And you've got them from Australia, South Africa, England, India, and Pakistan.

Lalit Modi has managed to bring them all together in India.

One can easily imagine a similar competition played out over a longer period, maybe a decade or two down the line involving teams from New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, China, Hong Kong, USA, Canada, Brazil, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Netherlands, Ireland, and many others.

Globalization is an understatement.

The Matches

The opening match of the Champions League will be played in Mumbai between Victoria Bushrangers, the winners of the KFC 20-20 competition in Australia, taking on the Middlesex Crusaders, the winners of England's 20-20 competition.

The top 2 teams from each group will qualify for the semi finals. The final of the tournament will take place in Chennai a week after the opening match.

The Captains

Bushrangers and the Warriors, the Australian teams, are captained by Cameron White and Marcus North respectively.

Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain, will be leading the Sialkot Stallions, while MS Dhoni, the Indian captain, will be leading the Chennai Super Kings.

Retired former Victorian, Shane Warne, will be leading the IPL champions Rajasthan Royals, and Middlesex will be captained by Shaun Udal.

The South African teams, Titans and Dolphins, will be led by Pierre Joubert and Ahmed Amla (Hashim's brother) respectively.

Where else will you find a french play cricket amongst the elite?

The Awards

Shaun Marsh, who topped the averaged in both the IPL (Kings XI) as well as the KFC 20-20 Cup (Bushrangers), won the best average for a batsman award.

Sohail Tanvir picked up the award for best bowling figures for his 6-14 for the Royals against the Super Kings, which are also the best bowling figures in all official 20-20 cricket, excluding the ICL.

Charles Langeveldt won the best strike rate for a bowler award for picking a wicket every 9 deliveries for the Cape Cobras, while Graeme Napier of Essex won the best stike rate for a batsman award with a SR of 195.2!

Brendon McCullum (Knight Riders) won the award for the highest score of 158 that he hit in the opening math if the IPL, and Yusuf Abdullah from the Natal Dolphins won the award for the best economy rate of 4.32.

A special award was given to Shoaib Malik for leading the Sialkot Stallions to 3 consecutive 20-20 titles while remaining unbeaten in 16 successive 20-20 matches.

Thats the longest winning streak in 20-20 cricket for any team. The Australia of 20-20 cricket?

Now that you have been familiarized with the Champions league, I can talk about the more interesting stuff related to the tournament.

Make your pitch on this post...

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2 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Get the latest cricket scores updates on www.chennaisuprkings.com

  2. Anonymous said...

    thats all very well but how the hell do you buy tickets for it???

    its 10 days away and no tickets, no website, no tv broadcasters.....

    typical IPL

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