Champions of regional Twenty20 cricket, Trinidad and Tobago, will for the first time be in the automatic draw of the Champions League T20 Tournament slated for India from September 17 to October 6.
Previously, Trinidad and Tobago had to enter a qualifying competition to enter the main draw despite winning the Caribbean title while second, third and fourth placed Indian Premier League teams got automatic entry into the main draw. Trinidad & Tobago finished runners-up in the inaugural edition in India 2009, and won qualifiers in 2011 and 2012 to secure their berth.
The twin-island republic will have an array of stars for the competition if all their players involved with other franchise teams, opt to play for their home territory. Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Samuel Badree, Adrian Barath, Denesh Ramdin, Shannon Gabriel, Rayad Emrit, Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine and Ravi Rampaul, all with international experience, as well as T20 specialist Kevon Cooper, could form the nucleus of one of the strongest teams in CLT20 2013.†There will be no team from England in the tournament this year and this has opened up slots for teams from other domestic competitions.
The tournament schedule, announced today, has ten teams split in two groups, with the top two in each group making the semi-finals. Eight teams have been seeded directly into the main competition and will be joined by two of five qualifiers.
One of those qualifiers is Faisalabad Wolves, who recently won the Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cup in Pakistan. Their participation in the tournament will be interesting given the fragile diplomatic and sporting ties between India and Pakistan.
But already controversy is brewing.
Dhaka Gladiators, the Bangladesh Premier League champions, have reacted strongly after the schedule of†this year’s Champions League T20 was announced without the two-time BPL winners. Of all the Test-playing countries, domestic Twenty20 champions from only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have never participated in the CLT20.
They had also alleged that the BCB did not send out any requests to one of the three cricket boards that organise the tournament, but the BCB has denied this claim.
“We expected (to be included) and were waiting for a meeting with one the organisers – the BCCI – of the tournament,” Shihab Chowdhury, Dhaka Gladiator’s managing director, said in a statement. “We also said that things are on track but the fixtures were released before we could even make a move. We were informed that the Bangladesh Cricket Board was supposed to recommend and request the BCCI. But surprisingly this was also never done.”
In reply, BPL secretary Ismail Haider Mallick has said they never got a reply from the organisers, but they will try to include the BPL champions. “They [Dhaka Gladiators] are misinformed about our stance. We have sent letters to the Champions League T20 committee but didn’t get any replies from the concerned people. We will send letters to the BCCI, CA and CSA in this regard next week.
“They went to meet the ICC but I don’t think the ICC has anything to do with this,” Mallick said.
“We were even told by the concerned that process is going and there was a very good chance for us to participate in the tournament this year, but no communication was made by the concerned thus we were not considered,” he said.
Group A IPL 1st ranked team (India) Highveld Lions (South Africa) Perth Scorchers (Australia) IPL 3rd ranked team (India) Q1 (Qualifier)
Group B IPL 2nd ranked team (India) Titans (South Africa) Brisbane Heat (Australia) Trinidad & Tobago (West Indies) Q2 (Qualifier)
Qualifier IPL 4th ranked team (India) Otago Volts (New Zealand) Uva Next (Sri Lanka) Faisalabad Wolves (Pakistan) †(Cricinfo/WG)††