Cricket gears up for International Champions League

A Champions League will be launched in September after the boards of England, Australia, India and SA reached agreement on the new T20 tournament.

updated: June 15, 2008 18:01 IST
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A multimillion dollar Champions League will be launched in September after the cricket boards of England, Australia, India and South Africa reached agreement on the new Twenty20 tournament.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced plans for the league on Saturday, saying the inaugural eight-team competition would likely be staged in India or the Middle East over 10 days in September and early October.

The winner will get $5 million with "significant sums" of prize money for the second-, third- and fourth-placed teams, the ECB said in a statement.

"It sounds a pretty good idea to me," New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum said after the third day's play in the third Test against England in Nottingham, England.

"It would be great to have a Champions League like football does and have the hype around it. I think it's good for the game to have that kind of following."

Cricket's Twenty20 revolution gathered pace this year with two new lucrative leagues in India attracting the world's leading players. National administrators across the world have been eager to cash in on the condensed game's popularity with crowds and broadcasters.

Representatives of the Indian and English boards will start talks with prospective commercial partners for the tournament that will feature the finalists from England's domestic Twenty20 Cup final at the Rose Bowl, the Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings from India, the Titans and Kwazulu Natal Dolphins from South Africa and Western Australia and Victoria state teams from Australia.

"(It's) certainly an incentive for domestic sides to take Twenty20 seriously and develop their skills and players, which can only help the international team," England paceman Stuart Broad said.