The Need For Champions League & a T20 League Calendar




Champions League - Photos of Pollard in TKR and MI
If Pollard played for both TKR & MI, which team would win?

A new “Ninety-90 Bash” league has been sanctioned in the UAE.

PSL finished its post-COVID leg of the tournament, and the IPL will soon have its post-COVID leg in the UAE ending just a few days before the T20 World Cup begins. The BCCI has even proposed a 10-team IPL or two IPLs in a year from next year.

Where does this stop? T10 & T20 leagues are popping left and right. Tournaments beginning, stopping, and resuming whenever they feel like. What is the result? Debatable rotation policies, career-threatening injuries, early retirements, and players choosing leagues over international cricket.

Also Read: Babar Azam, Rizwan, Shaheen: The Case for Pakistan Players In the IPL, The World Is Back In the Cricket World Cup

Champions League – What Went Wrong ?

Champions League T20 (CLT20) was an intriguing experiment held between 2009-2014 that unearthed stars like Kieron Pollard. Modeled on European football, what could possibly go wrong when the best T20 teams in the world competed together?

Yet, even with such good intentions, the tournament failed—Cluttered international calendar, revenue shortfall, growing success of the IPL, and the initial failure of other leagues were prominent factors.

The strength of the IPL contract meant that if a player represented multiple teams that qualified, they would be obligated to play for their IPL team.

By 2013-14, it was evident that the Indian Premier League was miles ahead. In 2013 (MI vs RR) & 2014 (CSK vs KKR) editions, both finalists were IPL teams. In 2014, 3 out of the 4 semifinalists were IPL teams (KXIP). The domestic teams from Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka, and South Africa failed to get this far after a decent show between 2009-2012.

CLT20 catered towards the IPL, and that is why it failed.

Why is the Revival of the Champions League Needed?

Seven years later, it is time to rethink the T20 calendar. The Big Bash is now a decade old. CPL & BPL are 8 years strong. PSL is 5 years old, and even Sri Lanka, South Africa, and England have formed stable leagues.

Half a decade ago, there were just a few T20 specialists—Brendon McCullum, Brad Hodge, AB De Villiers, Yusuf Pathan, and the World Cup winning West Indies generation. Now we have T20 specialists everywhere like Babar Azam, Tom Banton, Finn Allen, Dawid Malan, Tim Seifert, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, James Vince, Alex Hales, Paul Stirling, David Wiese, Rovman Powell—talented players that do not make the XI or even squads of the IPL teams.

Last year, Trinbago Knight Riders were undefeated to their CPL title –12 consecutive wins. Imagine a TKR versus Mumbai Indians Champions League battle? Will be a cracker of the contest if it is a fair contest—Which team does Trinbago’s captain Pollard play for?

How Can The International and T20 Calendar Coexist?

Here are some possible solutions:

  1. If the player is contracted by a national team, they should be obligated to represent their domestic T20 league in case of a conflict. Hence, Pollard would play for TKR instead of MI.
  2. For a nationally contracted player, maximum of 3 leagues per year should be enforced. This would keep conflicts to a minimum.
  3. Boards should accept responsibility and postpone the league till next year’s window in case the league is suspended.

This would lead to an interesting mix of international players in the leagues. Since NZ/Australia do not play much between June-October, players might choose IPL-the Hundred/CPL-BBL, while English players might choose PSL-IPL-The Hundred.

The Ideal Cricket Calendar

ICC has announced its tournament calendar for the next eight years. Each year, either a T20 WC, ODI WC, World Test Championship Final, or Champions Trophy will occur. A couple of months should be sidelined as the pinnacle of the international calendar.

Here is how the T20 calendar stands so far:

CountryTournamentMonthsYears
Bangladesh Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)January – February 2012-
PakistanPakistan Super League (PSL)February – March2016-
IndiaIndian Premier League (IPL)March – May2008-
CanadaGlobal T20 Canada (GT20)June – July2018-
England T20 Vitality Blast July – September 2003-
EnglandThe HundredJuly – August2021-
West IndiesCaribbean Premier League (CPL)August – September2013-
AfghanistanShpageeza Cricket League/
Afghanistan Premier League (APL)
September – October2013-
2018-
United Arab Emirates (UAE)T10 LeagueNovember – December2017 –
Sri LankaLanka Premier League (LPL)November – December2020-
South AfricaMzansi Super League (MSL)November – December2018-
New ZealandSuper SmashDecember – January2005-
AustraliaBig Bash League (BBL)December – February 2011 –

If the Champions League needs to be revived, September-October is an ideal month subject to the dates of world tournaments that year.

The debate between T20 leagues and international cricket is over. The leagues are here to stay, so why not coexist in a peaceful manner? At the moment, everything is disorganized, so why not organize it for the greater good of cricket.

Champions League History (2009-2014)

YearHost# of Teams
(# of Nations)
WinnersRunners-UpTeams
2009India12 (7)New South Wales (AUS)Trinidad and Tobago (WI)New South Wales, Victorian Bushrangers (AUS)
Sussex Sharks, Somerset Sabres (ENG)
Deccan Chargers, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils (IND)
Otago Volts (NZ)
Cape Cobras, Diamond Eagles (SA)
Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
Wayamba (SL)
2010South Africa10 (6)Chennai Super Kings (IND)Warriors (SA)Victorian Bushrangers, Southern Redbacks (AUS)
Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore (IND)
Central Districts Stags (NZ)
Warriors, Highveld Lions (SA)
Wayamba Elevens (SL)
Guyana (WI)
2011India10 (5)Mumbai Indians (IND)Royal Challengers Bangalore (IND)Southern Redbacks, New South Wales Blues (AUS)
Somerset (England)
Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians (IND)
Warriors, Cape Cobras (SA)
Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
2012South Africa13 (8)Sydney Sixers (AUS)Lions (SA)Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers (AUS)
Yorkshire Carnegie, Hampshire Royals (Eng)
Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians (IND)
Auckland Aces (NZ)
Sialkot Stallions (Pak)
Highveld Lions, Titans (SA)
Uva Next (SL)
Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
2013India12 (7)Mumbai Indians (IND)Rajasthan Royals (IND)Brisbane Heat, Perth Scorchers (AUS)
Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad (IND)
Otago Volts (NZ)
Faisalabad Wolves (PAK)
Kandurata Maroons (SL)
Highveld Lions, Titans (SA)
Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
2014India12 (7)Chennai Super Kings (IND)Kolkata Knight Riders (IND)Perth Scorchers, Hobart Hurricanes (AUS)
Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians (IND)
Northern Knights (NZ)
Lahore Lions (PAK)
Dolphins, Cape Cobras (SA)
Southern Express (SL)
Barbados Tridents (WI)

Image Courtesy: ESPNCricinfo

Copyright @Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams 06/24/2021. Email: bcd@brokencricketdreams.com




Nit X
About Nit-X 159 Articles
I dreamt of being a No. 3 batsman saving test matches and hitting winning runs. Well, that did not exactly go to plan, but I have since become an avid follower of the game. As long as there is a live cricket, you can guarantee that I will be checking the scorecards, watching the game live on TV, and certainly, discussing the game and statistics with family and friends.

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