Active conversation between Cricket Australia, BCCI, ECB to revive CLT20: Nick Cummins

Mumbai, April 2 (IANS) After a decade-long hiatus, discussions are underway among the cricket boards of Australia, England, and India to resurrect the Champions League T20 (CLT20) tournament, revealed Cricket Victoria CEO Nick Cummins. Cummins emphasised the need to find a suitable window in the packed cricket calendar, acknowledging the challenge posed by existing ICC tournaments.

Speaking at the Cricket Club of India, in a press conference announcing the launch of Melbourne Cricket Academy in partnership with Cricket Victoria on Tuesday in Mumbai, Cummins highlighted the maturation of the T20 landscape since the last edition of the CLT20 in 2014, suggesting that the time is ripe for its revival.

He hinted that the initial focus might be on women's cricket, potentially involving players from prominent T20 leagues such as the Women's Premier League, the Hundred, and the WBBL.

"I think the Champions League was ahead of its time. The T20 landscape wasn't mature enough at that point. I think it is now," said Cummins. "I know that there are active conversations between Cricket Australia, the ECB, and the BCCI about the Champions League. It's just trying to find a window as to when you actually play that because you've also got all the ICC tournaments as well. It may be that the first iteration of the Champions League will be of the women (it may involve cricketers playing in] the WPL, the Hundred and the WBBL,” he added.

Cummins was joined by former India batsman Jatin Paranjape, who is currently a member of BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee, and ex-Australia batsman David Hussey.

The last edition of the CLT20 was held in India in 2014, with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) winning the title after defeating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the final in Bengaluru. That edition of the tournament, then in its sixth year, involved three teams from India, two each from Australia and South Africa, and one each from Pakistan, the West Indies and New Zealand.

The CLT20, which ran annually from 2009 to 2014, featured top club teams from various cricketing nations. Cummins underscored the importance of international clubs competing against each other, drawing parallels with the football's Champions League and its ability to showcase the best talent on a global stage.

Cummins stressed the significance of bridging the gap between international and club-based competitions in cricket. He expressed the belief that the Champions League would provide a platform for the world's best players to compete against each other, transcending boundaries and uniting cricketing nations.

"I'm constantly talking to Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia CEO, for a Champions League, because I think it's pretty important to bring that back," Cummins said. "There are talks about it. It's probably a question to ask Jay Shah. But certainly, from an Australian cricket perspective, we are very open to the idea of the Champions League. It's just about finding a window in the FTP, but I think that's the next step in the evolution of cricket."

Drawing inspiration from the success of the football Champions League, Cummins envisioned a similar impact for cricket, where matches between clubs from different countries would generate excitement and intrigue among fans worldwide. He emphasised the need for cricket to evolve and adapt, allowing leagues to coexist harmoniously with international fixtures.

"No other competition has Indian players. The IPL doesn't have Pakistan players. So there is no competition in the world with the best players. The Champions League T20 would be a way for the best to be playing against each other"

"We still haven't made out which league is the best. IPL, PSL, or the Big Bash? The only way we can show that is by having Melbourne Stars play Karachi Kings or Mumbai Indians," Cummins said. "Champions League T20 is well overdue. Look at what the Champions League does for football, the World Cup is fantastic,and the Champions League is there (too) every time.

"The idea of Mumbai Indians playing Melbourne Stars at the MCG would be just as exciting as India playing Australia at the MCG.

"Football had a really big club vs country tension in the 90s. And they found a way for international football to exist side by side with leagues. Cricket is going through it at the moment. Every country has the right to have a T20 league, whether it is Nepal or Ireland. We shouldn't place controls on how members want to play cricket," he said.

--IANS

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