New Delhi:It is still 40 days away, but the inaugural Champions League T20 tournament has already become a hit with cricket administrators and players all over the world giving a thumbs up to international cricket's first-ever franchise driven club level tournament.
The Champions T20 League, a joint initiative of BCCI, Cricket South Africa and Cricket Australia, will see the best domestic T20 teams from India, Australia, South Africa, England and Pakistan fight it out in the USD six million tournament scheduled to be held in India from December 3 to 10.
"The Champions League is a culmination of hard work by BCCI, CA, CSA and we would like to have champions of champions. The Champions League is definitely going to become one of the the best of the best T20 tournaments. The Champions League will decide who the club level champion is," Champions League Commissioner Lalit Modi said in a glittering draw and T20 Champions award ceremony at a city hotel on Thursday.
Modi, who is also the brain behind the highly successful Indian Premier League, informed that in the first edition of the event eight teams from five countries will vie for top honours but the number of participating teams will subsequently increase in the next year.
"This is the inaugural edition of the Champions League and we are starting with eight teams from five countries. The total number of matches this year will be 15. But in year two, the number of teams will increase to 12. Subsequently the number of matches will shoot up to 23," he said.
"Its great to see teams from different countries participating in the tournament in the very first year," he said.
Modi, who is also the Commissioner of IPL, said although T20 cricket has attained great heights in terms of popularity, it will have no adverse affect on the traditional format of the game and limited overs cricket.
"The Champions League is here to stay and fans are loving it. At the same time, ODIs and Tests are also flourishing."
Meanwhile, world cricketers also seemed gung ho about the inaugural Champions T20 League with Michael Hussey describing the event as an 'exciting concept'.
"It (Champions T20 League) is an exciting concept as T20 has captured the imagination of the world. It is a fantastic concept and I am looking forward to be a part of it," Hussey said.
Australia and Indian Premier League champions Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Shane Watson credited the IPL for revolutionising the concept of T20 cricket.
"The IPL really took that (T20 cricket) on. Its amazing to see best club teams from different countries fighting it out against each other," he said.