Champions League T20: It’s Back!

Champions T-20, where the best domestic teams slug it out for global glory is around the corner.

This year’s series is to be held in South Africa from Oct 9 to Oct 28. It is sure to be full of all the big controversies, the big hits, and the joyous moments, and of course, inevitable gigantic cash flow.

So let’s start with the controversies. It seems that the curse of Champions T-20 has first hit the umpires.

A sting operation on the umpires has revealed that six of them are guilty of being a part of match fixing. Not surprisingly, all the umpires are from the subcontinent.

My verdict – as disgusting as it is, but everybody wants their share, if there is such a huge inflow of money.

The controversy doesn’t stop here. The format of the CLT20 itself is pretty much against the spirit of cricket.

A qualifying round where six teams, which includes five champions of their respective home leagues, battle it out for two available spots.

The two teams will then join the “already qualified” eight teams which consist of four IPL teams.

Nepotism and favouritism ought to be subtle. But this is right in the face.

Well this gets me to just how much of an impact money plays on the Champions League. All nine players who were nominated for the two teams have opted to represent their respective IPL teams.

It is important to give a bit of a background here; the CLT20 was formed as a partnership between Cricket South Africa, Cricket Australia and the BCCI where India is the biggest shareholder.  In an interview Jacques Faul, Cricket South Africa’s acting chief executive clearly saidThe commercial success of the tournament relies on the Indian market, so it makes a lot of sense to have a lot of Indian teams in there.” So, without any doubt the CLT20 is basically an extension of the IPL.

Oh, I almost forgot the cricket bit!

The West Indians, after winning the World T-20 championship, would be expected to shine.

The Mumbai Indians would be taking all efforts to defend their title. However, they would face serious competition not only from other IPL teams but also from other champions. Also Virender Sehwag has opted to give up the role of captain, and so you’re going to be seeing Mahela Jaywardene in his place.

Not to mention, injuries to Chennai Super Kings’ Dwayne Bravo and Uva Next’s Upul Tharanga has ruled them out of the tournament.

The qualification rounds start with Auckland Aces taking on Sialkot Stallions. The first teams to be a part of this tournament are from Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Uva Next and England’s Yorkshire are on October 9th.

Sialkot Stallions are sure to catch the media attention as they, unlike the other non IPL teams, do boast of a decent star quotient.

The initial matches could be a bit dull but once the group stages begin, no matter how much criticism the CLT20 has received, I would surely be glued to the screen and you probably will be too.

After all it’s a festival, live it!

Laksh Wee