Twenty20 cricket’s Champions League may go ahead in India in September without an English team, a top-ranking Indian official said.
Middlesex looked to have earned a spot at the inaugural edition of the lucrative tournament by winning England’s Twenty20 Cup on Saturday, but Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi has reportedly said the club could be excluded because of a standoff with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The ECB wants several tournament rules relaxed, most notably a ban on teams containing players who are affiliated to the IPL’s rival Indian Cricket League.
That rule would prevent Kent from qualifying as losing finalist because of the presence of Justin Kemp and Azhar Mahmood, a situation the ECB is keen to avoid — if only by gaining a one-year exemption from tournament organizers.
British paper the Sunday Telegraph reported that the ECB is even considering setting up its own tournament in Abu Dhabi, something that appears to have irked Modi.
“We are going ahead with the tournament whether England joins up or not,” Modi said in an interview with the Cricinfo Web site.
“South Africa and Australia are fully on board with the various rules and regulations but the ECB is being unreasonable and continues to have objections to issues like the shareholding pattern and the governing structure,” it said. “But we can’t wait any longer and we are going ahead. It’s now up to the ECB to decide whether it wants to join us or not.”
The Champions League has a purse of £2.5 million (US$4.97 million), with £1 million (US$1.99 million) on offer to the winner.
Modi said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India was keen for an English team to take part, but only on its terms.
That means players from the unofficial ICL are not welcome.
“Kent will not be invited but we will be happy to welcome Middlesex,” Modi said.
The standoff means Middlesex may have to be content with its spot at the Stanford Twenty20 tournament in Antigua, where it will meet England, Trinidad and Tobago and a Stanford Superstars team.