12 teams to contest inaugural Champions League T20

Twelve teams will contest the inaugural edition of the Champions League Twenty20, the three founder members of the tournament announced at a press conference in Johannesburg Sunday.
The press conference announcing the Inaugural Champions League Twenty20. Anil Kumble can be seen in the picture.
The press conference announcing the Inaugural Champions League Twenty20. Anil Kumble can be seen in the picture.

The Royal Challengers, Bangalore, the Deccan Chargers, Hyderabad and the Delhi Daredevils will represent India in the event to be held in India from October 8 to 23 this year.

Apart from India, the tournament will feature the top two domestic T20 teams from South Africa, England, Australia and the domestic T20 champions from New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka.

The teams will be divided into four groups of three each and will initially play each other on a league basis. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the second stage and four teams from the second stage would make it to the semi-finals. The Champions League Twenty20 will witness a total of 23 matches, the organisers said in a press release.

The teams from the other countries include Victoria and New South Wales from Australia and Cobras and Eagles from South Africa.

The tournament will carry a prize pool of US $ 6 million for 2009.

An initiative of three founding members– the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa, the tournament is a platform where the best-of-the-best in domestic club cricket in the world will get the opportunity to pit their cricketing skills against each other.

ESPN STAR Sports are the commercial rights holders for Champions League Twenty20 for a period of 10 years.

Speaking on the occasion, Lalit Modi, Chairman, Champions League Twenty 20, said, "In the CLT20, I believe we have a concept that will inspire and motivate the future generations of club, state and county cricketers, while accelerating the development of the game globally. Our South African experience has taught us that the club concept is slowly but surely being accepted by cricket fans across the world and Champions League Twenty20 will provide an opportunity for the best-of-the-best to be crowned the Champion.

“The inaugural edition did not take place last year due to unfortunate circumstances but we are fully equipped this time around to conduct an extremely successful tournament in India and given the collaboration of our fellow cricket boards from Australia and South Africa and ESPN Star Sports, I am confident that this will be a true global event the scale of which the cricketing world has not seen outside of the World Cups. I am happy that two worthy teams have emerged from a very tough Season 2009 of the Indian Premier League in South Africa to represent the host nation. The two teams from India will face stiff competition from the other teams which is indeed a mouth-watering prospect for cricket lovers across the world," he added.

Manu Sawhney, Managing Director, ESPN STAR Sports, said, “The Champions League Twenty20 is a marquee global tournament where only the top T20 club teams from various domestic leagues from top cricketing nations qualify to compete for the greatest honor, to be adjudged as Champion of Champions. This World Championship therefore positions itself as a one of a kind top level international tournament unlike any other.

"Today, we are the biggest stakeholder in the game of cricket globally and with our strong brands, we are well placed to fully leverage and exploit multiple opportunities across platforms and markets. We are confident that Champions League Twenty 20 has all the necessary ingredients of a blockbuster property and I congratulate all the twelve teams and wish them the very best for the tournament in October," he said.

James Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Australia, said, "I am sure cricket fans around the world will pencil in the dates for the inaugural CLT20 tournament because I know we are in for truly world-class cricket. CLT20 will build on the success of domestic Twenty20 competitions in Australia and elsewhere in a manner which accelerates the development of cricket globally. There are many exciting things about the go-ahead of CLT20, one of the many is that the benefits will flow down to interstate cricket in Australia and equivalent levels elsewhere, giving players at that level a chance to increase their skills and personal profiles while they test themselves against the best from around the world."

Gerald Majola, Chief Executive of Cricket South Africa, said, "The Champions League Twenty20 will electrify global audiences in October and South African fans would definitely follow up their favourite Pro T20 after the success of Season 2009. I am certain that the League will encourage the pipeline of cricket development from the club, affiliate and franchise levels through to the international arenas. I am sure the global broadcast of the Champions League Twenty20 will ignite the passion of cricket lovers the world over."

Anil Kumble, Captain – Royal Challengers Bangalore said, “We have achieved our first aim of qualifying for the Champions League Twenty20. We are keen to ensure that the second aim of winning Indian Premier League and being the lead representative from India is achieved later this evening. We have learnt a lot by competing in the two editions from the IPL and are hopeful that we will do India proud by holding the Champions League Twenty20 trophy later this year.”

Adam Gilchrist, Captain – Deccan Chargers said, “Champions League Twenty20 will provide a different level of stimulus as we will test our strength and our strategies against the best in the world. We are keen to make our club a global name and nothing better than winning the biggest league Club Cricket has to offer across the world.”

Sreenivas Bomidala, Chairman – GMR Sports (Delhi Daredevils) said, “We look forward to testing our capabilities and strategies against the best in the world. The Champions League Twenty20 will give our club the unique opportunity to become a global name and we would like nothing better than to win the inaugural CLT20 against some of the biggest cricket clubs in the world.”

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