Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI: After the huge success of the Indian Premier League, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday approved another money-spinner, the Champions Twenty20 tournament, with a clause to debar English counties having players aligned to the Indian Cricket League (ICL).

The BCCI Working Committee, which met here, approved the proposal to jointly organise the tournament with Australia, South Africa and Pakistan in late September and early October. Clubs from England, which qualify, can play provided the teams do not include players who are with the ICL, Board Secretary Niranjan Shah said in a statement.

Only the England and Wales Cricket Board has allowed players aligning with the ICL to play for the counties. But the BCCI vice-president and IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said BCCI would stay away from any tournament involving ICL players.

Joint venture

“The rules and structure of the tournament will be framed by Cricket Australia while BCCI, which will be 50 per cent partner in the venture, will run and manage it,” Mr. Modi said. Mr. Modi said the ECB had stated it could not restrict ICL players in its counties. But the BCCI would stick to its stand.

On whether there was a chance that the ECB might not participate in the event at all because of this issue, Mr. Modi said, “That is for the ECB to decide. If that is the case, it will be very sad.”

Mr. Modi, however, expected that a solution would be reached at the meeting of the organising boards to be held in Dubai next week.

First year in India

The Champions T20 will be held in the first year in India. Form the second edition onwards attempts would be made to hold it in the Middle East, Australia, South Africa and England.

The tournament, featuring the top two T20 sides of the participating countries, will have a total prize money of $10 million, with winner getting $5 million and the runner-up $2.5 million.

On accommodating the T20 tournament in the packed schedule and its impact on the players before important assignments, Mr. Modi said the tournament, of only nine or 10 days duration, would not impact national teams. It would impact only one or two national squad players of each country.

‘Good for the game’

Mr. Modi denied that the proposed Stanford competition involving England players would affect the BCCI-backed T20 venture. “It’s good for the game. It is only adding to the pie. There is no conflict (of interests),” he said.

The BCCI Working Committee also discussed the proposed ICC World Test Championship, but Mr. Modi said the Board would have a detailed discussion about it later.

Meanwhile, BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said the Board had sanctioned $50,000 for the improvement of the game in China.

The committee also reviewed the conduct of the IPL and approved the schedule of women’s team’s tours of England and Australia.

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