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Top players will play Champions Trophy

ICC President Ehsan Mani is confident that the first event in India after 10 years will be a grand success.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 15:46 IST

The countries competing in the Champions Trophy this year will send their best players, International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani said on Thursday.

"Don't kid yourself. Australia have never won this tournament and they are determined to win it this time. They will send their best team," Mani said at the launch of the Champions Trophy to be held in October-November.

Mani said this amid reports that the boards of Australia and England might not send their best players to the tournament so as to preserve them for the Blue-Ribbon Ashes series in Australia to be held in November-January.

The five-Test Ashes series will start in Brisbane Nov 23, barely 18 days after the final of the Champions Trophy to be held in Mumbai Nov 5.

But Mani was confident that that the first ICC event in India after 10 years will be a grand success.

Mani also said he did not think the workload on international players had become too much.

"We have to see the balance between the right amount of cricket and too much cricket," he said.

"And for this, we have stretched the FTP (Future Tours Programme for the 10 Test nations) from five to six years, to allow the players to manage their workload. I feel the balance is right," he said.

In recent times, prominent former players and coaches, like England's coach Duncan Fletcher and Australia's wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, have raised concerns about what they call "an exacting international itinerary".

Mani highlighted the importance of the Champions Trophy by pointing out that it will be played four months before the World Cup.

"It (Champions Trophy) is a chance for players to secure their places. It will give teams the opportunity to develop and test their plans and strategies before the World Cup," he said.

Mani recalled that A.C. Muthiah, a former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was keen on hosting the Champions Trophy when the 2002 edition was allotted to the country. But due to the then government's refusal to give 100 percent tax exemption to ICC, the tournament was shifted to Sri Lanka.

In 2004, ICC again allotted the Champions Trophy to India, but the government again refused to grant tax exemption. The tournament was then shifted to England.

However, the government has now agreed to give the exemption, not just for cricket but also for all major international sports events in the country henceforth.

Eight nations will vie for the title between Oct 7 and Nov 5. Matches will be played in Mumbai, Mohali, Jaipur and Ahmedabad.