Posted by: nestaquin | October 8, 2009

Champions League 2009: Rupees & Representation

Cape CobrasThe inaugural domestic Champions League begins later tonight in Bangalore with the home team led by Anil Kumble pitting their skills against South African T20 champions the Cape Cobras from the Western Province region in Southern Africa.

Other teams in the competition hail from England, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean but for reasons that I’m unaware of Pakistani and Bangladeshi teams are not included. Perhaps they were not invited to participate or maybe they declined the opportunity and if any readers know why they are not competing please leave a comment on the matter and enlighten us.

It is a shame that Pakistan is not represented. They are undoubtedly the kings of T20 cricket being unfortunate runners-up in the World T20 of 2007 and champions of the last event a few months back. That being said, the winners of this tournament may claim to be the best domestic T20 outfit on the planet but without Pakistani representation it is, and always will be, a questionable boast.

The tournament comprises a curious mix of franchises and representative teams and it will be fascinating to see if the dollar is indeed mightier than honour. The prizemoney is substantal for the winners, $US2.5million for the winners and $US6million shared overall.

I understand that for most of the teams the prizemoney is entirely their own to use as they please, which could have major implications for their domestic competitors, but that is not the case for the Australian teams of Victoria and New South Wales.

The players will be paid a percentage bonus for their participation and the state association also but a proportion of the funds will go into Cricket Australia’s Development fund for the benefit of everyone involved in Australian cricket. Even in this brave new world of cricketing mercenaries and privately run franchises domestic cricket in Australia is still entirely focused on being a nursery for international players.

This may change in the future, and if it does it will be to the detriment of cricket on the Southern continent, but for now Australian cricket will continue with their semi-socialist structures that have served them very well for over a century.

During the IPL the teams were only permitted four foreigners per match and although I am not certain I don’t think a similar rule applies in this tournament. Therefore, in tonight’s match half the Bangalore team could conceivably be imports and with four of them South African – Kallis, Steyn, Boucher and Roelfe van der Merwe – the Cape Cobras, who are made up entirely of locals, won’t be overawed as they know them well and play against them regularly.

Sure, the Cobras are missing injured and irreplaceable captain Graeme Smith but with Gibbs and Duminy as batting stars and Charl Langeveldt and Monde Zondeki leading the bowlers they’ll put on a good show and might even upset the home team if conditions suit. They are a tight unit with a fine coach in Shukri Conrad and have publicly stated that they are more focused on representing Western Province with distinction than any financial windfall.

This theme of regional, and in the case of Trinidad, national representation against the naked capitalism of the franchises is sure to be a recurring topic throughout the tournament and although an obvious simplification, it will be interesting to see if the romantic notion of community can triumph over the cold reality of materialistic gain.

If, as expected, the Indian owned teams dominate then it is likely that the cricketing landscape could change forever with privately owned franchises replacing centuries old community based regional teams at domestic level sooner than most expect.

There is much more at stake than a trophy and a big fat cheque during this tournament and whichever way the cards fall it is my hope that eventually cricket and the people who play and follow the ancient game are left with an improved, healthy and inclusive sport that will still have at its core the humanistic principles of respect and fraternity that have given opportunity and enjoyment to so many for so long.

Stay Human



  1. I believe the Pakistani teams aren’t there because of government instruction, possibly by both Indian and Pakistani governments, though I’m not sure.

    I doubt it even occurred to anyone to invite a Bangladeshi side, given that the national team would struggle to compete in this tournament.

  2. I would not be surprised a Kallis dropping a Cobra player’s catch before realising what has happened.

  3. delhi daredevils has a good chance of winning this tournament with Dilshan, sehwag, gambhir,shah,nehra ,nannes and mcgrath in their lineup

    • Not sure what use McGrath will be for Delhi. I saw him a few weeks back when he was in town promoting his foundation’s sponsorship of a car in this weekend’s Bathurst 1000 and he looked far from fit.

      Additionally, he is on the coaching staff of NSW and although I’m sure he’ll give it his best shot I doubt his motivation is high.

      I’d be very surprised if he could bowl above 125kph in his condition and on a flat wicket against very good batsmen he could and probably will go for plenty.

      • he was in the team for the whole IPL season 2 but did not get a game. I too think he is there for the coach/mentor purpose but i would take him anyday.

  4. UPDATE: I’ve contacted Well Pitched about Pakistan’s absence at the tournament and this is what Sledgehammer had to say on the matter;

    @nestaquin: It’s because Modi decided not to include Pakistan in the tournament.

    I think he was pissed that Pak govt didn’t allow Pak players to play in IPL this year out of safety concerns (at that time it was to be held in India, and it was just a few months after the Mumbai attacks. It was a decision by the Pak govt, not the PCB or the players). So Modi made some bogus claims about Pakistan not returning the CL application in time, blah blah.

    That’s why Pakistan, the T20 World Champions, do not have a team in the Champions League.

    • you are right about Modi. He is a guy who can go any lenghts to make his wish come true. He was in the news for supporting a rebel group in Rajasthan cricket association and is known to even defy orders from BCCI.
      Pakistan is like an Ice cream joint which brings new flavours every few months and i would have liked to see new talents other than the international players.
      I can see some good from the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan and that is less Cricket. After 2004 both teams 4 full tours and You would not believe it but the recent India-Pakistan game had the lowest TV ratings for an India -Pak game in the last 10 years.

    • While Modi probably did not invite a Pakistan team for the CL, I don’t think it was because he was upset at their not participating in the IPL. That really would not have mattered very much either to hiom or the IPL.

      However, being the businessman he is, he could not have taken a chance at inviting them and having the Pakistan govt. or PCB stop them from traveling to India at the last moment. Unlike the IPL, this would have really affected the CL, as he would not be able to organise another team at short notice.

  5. I don’t quite agree that it is Modi who wanted Pakistan (Sialkot Stallions) out of the CL 2009.

    After the Mumbai terrorist attacks last year, the Indian Govt stopped any cricketing relation with Pakistan, and that has resulted in cancellation of India-Pak series. The Pakistan Govt refused to allow Pakistani players participating in IPL later, and as relations have not improved between the two countries, it is unlikely that either Govts would have allowed Sialkot Stallions to play in CL.

    I am not defending Modi here. But he is a businessman, and he knows that Pakistani players are good for the tournament, not counting the increased TV revenues from Pakistan and the Gulf, if Sialkot were to play.

    A small nitpick in Nesta’s post: Pakistan are truly the best T20 team in the world, but why were they unfortunate runnersup in the first T20 tournament? The finals was played in good spirit, there were no umpiring gaffes, and the match was won by Dhoni’s men in the last over, but fair and square.

    Having said that, I don’t think the CL is receiving as much coverage and interest in India as the IPL in South Africa did. It may be because the real crowdpullers such as Sachin, Dhoni, Yuvraj, KP and Freddie are missing, and Sehwag is returning from injury and not expected to do much. The swine flu scare may also make people prefer to watch the cricket on TV.

    I am expecting NSW to win this tournament if their younger players settle down to Indian conditions quickly.Lee is the key. Also, watch out for Wayamba.

  6. Pakistan were unfortunate because of Misbah’s foolish paddle sweep. If he would have played an orthodox stroke they would have almost certainly won.

    Perhaps that one brain explosion has changed the cricketing landscape forever. I wonder if there would have been an IPL if India hadn’t won the inaugural World T20.

    • OTOH, one could Misbah was lucky to connect some fluke sixes in what was almost a hopeless chase around the 17th/18th over :) We are calling it foolish now because it did not go for a 4 or 6.

      But I agree with you that the Indian T20 win was instrumental in expediting the change.But just the fact of an India Vs Pak final would have been enough for T20 to get critical fan base in the sub-continent.

  7. Some fabulous fielding in the NSW Blues ( My Guys) v Eagles. .. the Blues are turning on fielding that is seldom seen , excrutiatingly accurate and fast. Not bad bowling either. Eagles 83 for 8 currently.

  8. Very impressive from NSW. Imagine how good they’d be if Haddin, Clarke & Bracken were fit.

  9. Very impressive from the Bushrangers, ( Victoria ) so far, Delhi won the toss, elected to bat and they were out for 98. The Bushies fielding was impeccable also.

    Now the Delhi’s are bowling and already their fielding is falling apart. As am I , it’s a cold dark long night in Sydney ……

  10. holy smokes, the Bushrangers just whammed that in, some super fielding, great batting. Cam White blazing away.

  11. Long odds that the fielding would improve if Haddin was there. He is a batsman before he is a keeper.

  12. Is Tooting going to pitch something about the English squad? Someone has to find some way of explaining to me how Luke Wright can be chosen for a test squad. Any test squad.

    • I can’t!

      But I’ll do a preview before the Tour starts.

  13. I am just so thrilled that SAJ MAHMOOD is back for you, Tooter.. oh how I have missed SAJ!!!!….

    And I am sure all english cricket fans have missed him even more than I …

    • One just for you Pepp!

  14. Great to see Roy back on the field for Gilly’s boys. I know he’s letr people down and he’s an unpleasant drunk, but he’s a helluva one day player and has paid a heavy price for his weakness.

  15. Brilliant play from Thomas and Hildreth – county cricket ain’t so bad!

  16. Just watching a replay now of Somerset and Hyderabad. Great comeback! Not taking anything away from Somerset but perhaps the Indian teams are over-rated.

    They have another chance to prove me wrong but when you compare their performances to the Cobras, NSW and Victoria they don’t look in the same class at the moment.

    We’ll see how good County cricket is when Sussex play an injury ridden NSW this evening.

  17. Sussex are pretty ordinary – Somerset will carry the flame for the old dinosaur that it county cricket.

  18. I am not sure who plays/played more T20 cricket (county teams Vs IPL teams), but I would assume the county teams to have more experience playing together, and a better appreciation of the tactics of T20.

    NSW is pure class, but I don’t think there is much separating the other teams.

  19. There are a lot of poorly-drilled domestic players in the IPL sides. When they lose some of their international stars to injury, their standard drops a lot. You’d think they’re still better than the county sides though.

  20. I agree Dave. Depth is important as we can see from NSW who are missing a trio of key international players.

    With three overs remaining it seems as though NSW will win very easily as they did against Delhi in the first match.

    I thought Arafat and Smith bowled the last four overs very well for Sussex. Apart from those two though the bowling was very ordinary. Their fielding also was below what Australians would expect from a First-Class team.

    I’m interested to see how the Sri Lankan perform in the next match.

  21. Aussie teams’ fielding has been rockin’. It is so exciting to watch really top quality fielding.

  22. How I love great fielding.. the SpeedBlitz Blues ( their full title) were just terrific at it last night.

    They make Wickies tough in Sussex, though. I thought the SUssex boy was dead as a dodo, but no, he rose from the ground like Lazarus after a horrible clunk from his bowler, right between the eyes, scary stuff.

    • I was very impressed with our boys as well. They really looked a class above Sussex.

      I’m sure the RTA must be amused at getting their name known to a quarter of the world’s population. Actually it makes you think that that state T20 teams should be looking around for more lucrative sponsorhsip deals.

      I’m all for inventive commentary ideas but talking to wired up umpires during a match, nay, during a delivery, well I baulk at that one.

      And just why the umpires were letting our boys walk in the middle of the pitch, buggered if I know. Maybe they just want the entire pitch damaged so a better one can be used.

  23. Also, Katich. Good captain. I reckon he should be captaining the Australian T20 team. He may not be a bludgeoner, but he has great timing, and manages to place the ball where the fielders aren’t.

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