CA announces a new domestic Twenty20 Champions League

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Sydney, Sep 13 (UNI) Cricket Australia today announced a new Twenty20 Champions League, coinciding with the launch of a new Indian domestic Twenty20 competition -- the Indian Premier League by the BCCI -- which gives India, Australia, England and South Africa's state cricket teams a chance to compete internationally with 2 million dollars prize money up for grabs.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will partner with Cricket Australia (CA), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) in the new Champions Twenty20 domestic club competition.

Cricket Australia announced that the six state KFC Twenty20 Big Bash sides will get the chance to compete for a 2 million dollars first prize in an international 'best of the best' Champions Twenty20 tournament planned to operate annually from late 2008.

Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the new Champion's League would boost interstate cricket by, giving the two state KFC Twenty20 Big Bash finalists a chance to compete against finalists from similar competitions in India, South Africa and England for a 2 million dollars first prize.

It will also expose interstate cricket stars to international competition, offering fans of local state-based teams the extra excitement of supporting their favourite local players on a global stage.

''The Champions Twenty20 concept will enhance rather than compromise existing domestic and international competitions around the world,'' Sutherland was quotedm as saying in a press release issued by CA today.

''It supports our view that Twenty20 cricket's development should be managed in a way which engages and harnesses public excitement for the format while complementing Test and one-day international cricket.

''This fantastic new competition gives our best interstate cricketers, and their equivalents in other competitions, a chance to pit their skills against champions from other countries.

In its first year, the tournament will comprise the top two teams from the domestic Twenty20 competitions in Australia, India, England and South Africa. It's planned for the tournament to increase in size in following years to include teams from other ICC Members, with those nations who do not currently have a domestic Twenty20 competition incorporated into tournaments in Australia, India, South Africa or England.

In Australia's case, this might in future include teams from New Zealand competing in the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash for the right to qualify to play in the Champions Twenty20, with Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket discussing this possibility for the 2008-09 season.

The first Champions Twenty20 tournament is expected to be played in October 2008, with the eight competing teams divided into two pools competing for 5 million dollars in prizemoney. Teams will play a round robin phase before the top two from each pool progress to the semi final stage. The venues are yet to be determined.

Cricket Australia has been asked to develop an operating plan for the concept which will be presented to the BCCI, ECB and CSA in late October.

UNI

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