India unveil T20 Champions League

NEW DELHI: India will host a multi-nation Champions League Twenty20 competition in October to cash in on the growing popularity of the sport’s shortest version, organisers said on Monday.

The tournament, featuring the top domestic teams from seven countries, will be held from October 8-23, Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi said. The 12-team event will offer $6m as prize money which Modi, who also heads the Champions League, said was the “biggest prize in world cricket at a domestic competition level.” India will field three teams, Australia, England and South Africa two each, while New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will have one team each.

Pakistan, which was earlier nominated to send one team, will not feature this year due to Islamabad’s refusal to send sporting teams to India amid political tensions between the neighbours, Modi said. “Unfortunately, the Pakistan government won’t give them (the players) clearance to come to India, and since Saturday was our cut-off date, it’s not possible to have a team from Pakistan this year,” Modi said.

India’s Deccan Chargers and Bangalore Royal Challengers, which contested the IPL final in Johannesburg on Sunday, gained a direct entry along with Delhi Daredevils, who topped the IPL preliminary round. Australia will be represented by their domestic T20 finalists Victoria and New South Wales, while Cape Cobras and Eagles will fly South Africa’s flag. The two English county teams

will be finalised on August 25 when their domestic Twenty20 Cup ends. Otago (New Zealand), Trinidad and

Tobago (West Indies) and Wayamba (Sri Lanka) will be the other teams in the fray in the 23-match event.

The 12 teams will be divided into four groups with

the top two from each group advancing to the next round. The top four teams in the second round will move

to the semi-finals. The draw will be held in London on June 23, two days after the World Twenty20 ends.

The Champions League was earlier scheduled to be held in December last

year but was postponed following the Mumbai terror strikes in November.