Delhi Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir feels domestic players will play a major role in the Champions League Twenty20, beginning Thursday.
"It is a good opportunity for the local players to prove themselves. The domestic players are going to prove useful in the Indian conditions," Gambhir said in an open media session of Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday.
"Daredevils have been the most consistent team. Reaching semifinals twice in Indian Premier League (IPL) is a big thing. Hope we can improve in the Champions League."
Gambhir strongly defended out-of-form pacer Ishant Sharma, saying the youngster need to be encouraged and not criticised.
"He has been playing cricket from a long time. He is a young kid and in my opinion will be spearheading the Indian attack in the next two-three years. It is not fair to criticise him."
The 28-year-old Delhi player said the format will be beneficial for the national teams.
"We saw after the Indian Premier League (IPL) that quite a few players got the call to play for the country while it helped others to make a comeback. The Champions League format will add to the pool of the players which would be good for the national team. It will also boost the confidence of the domestic players," he said.
Gambhir, who was recently conferred the ICC Test Player of the Year award, feels the competition can be as big as the IPL.
"It is tough to say at this moment. But the amount of excitement the format has generated among the teams and the viewers, it seems it is going to be as big as IPL."