With English counties giving it a miss, this year's Champions League Twenty20 will feature only 10 teams in South Africa this September, as opposed to the 12 teams that were involved last year, the tournament's Governing Council said here today.
Of the teams which have already qualified for the tournament, only three -- Royal Challengers Bangalore (India),
Victorian Bushrangers (Australia) and Wayamba Elevens (Sri Lanka) - will be returning from the inaugural edition.
Although 9 out of the 10 spots have already been ascertained, the only place which remains to be filled is that from the West Indies and that too will be confirmed by late July. An impressive line-up from Trinidad and Tobago represented the Caribbean last year, and the likes of players like Keiron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo impressed one and all, and also led their team into the finals.
The 2010 edition of the league, scheduled from September 10 to 26, will feature 23 matches and the teams which have already made it through are IPL champions Chennai Super Kings (India), Mumbai Indians (India), Royal Challengers Bangalore (India), Victorian Bushrangers (Australia), South Australian Redbacks (Australia), Warriors (South Africa), Highveld Lions (South Africa), Central Stags (New Zealand) and Wayamba Elevens (Sri Lanka). English teams were forced out from the tournament after their cricket board refused to adjust the dates of their domestic season to avoid a clash with the lucrative league. The England and Wales Cricket Board had earlier preponed the dates after being requested by the BCCI in the first place. But when the Indian Board rejigged the CLT20 dates for a second time, the ECB said it was left with no room to make adjustments again.
The tournament is a joint venture between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and Cricket South Africa (CSA). BCCI secretary and owner of Chennai Superkings N Srinivasan said, "The fact that only a third of last year's field have re-qualified to play for the USD 2.5 million first prize demonstrates the evenness of Twenty20 competitions around the world."
CA chief executive officer James Sutherland said the tournament provides youngsters the opportunity to rub shoulders with the bigwigs of world cricket. "The chance for these players to display their skills on the world stage and further their claims for national selection is a source of great pride for Cricket Australia and the other founding members," Sutherland added.
CSA chief executive Gerald Majola said, "The Airtel Champions League Twenty20 will reinforce South Africa's reputation as an ideal host for international sporting events."