Amid all the fixing allegations, cricket fans have felt cheated by the very players they enjoyed watching play. It's not only about Pakistan. Such incidents shake a fan's belief. India's and Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni said, "People will start blaming the whole cricketing fraternity." That is true as it is human to generalise things. And that's why I seriously feel that the Champions League T20 (CLT20) is happening just at the right time.
Fixing is the worst thing that can happen to cricket. It had created a tumult in 2000 and we still call it the darkest phase. It's paradoxical and pragmatic at the same time, but cricket itself can kill this monster which is raising its head again.
While the caretakers of the game handle the issue of fixing and take appropriate action, and I sincerely hope they do, the CLT20 might just prove to be the little step towards restoring and steadying the faith of cricket fans.
In its second year, CLT20 has three teams from the last season, while the actual number of teams has gone down to ten from twelve. With new teams and new players every year, it will take some time to build itself as a brand. But it will become successful, nevertheless.
Some might find my opinion an aberration but I think it has a better and bigger potential than the Indian Premier League.
Unlike the first edition, this time the CLT20 will have bigger names of the contemporary cricket. Names like Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Jacques Kallis are undoubtedly crowd pullers.
What's also appreciable about this tournament is that it is a conglomeration of talent from all major cricket-playing nations with some big names and some really talented but lesser known players. It throws some of the hidden talents under the limelight. Till last year, not many knew who Kieron Pollard was. His performance at the last Champions League got him noticed and was grabbed by the Mumbai Indians for a whopping sum.
Besides the monetary benefits, the CLT20 gives opportunities to players, who may otherwise never get a chance to play against the greats of the game, to fulfill their dreams and also make a mark for themselves.
Also, a word here for the venue of the event (can't help since it is my favourite). South Africa brings a vibrant flavour to every sport event that's conducted there. The ICC World Cup in 2003, the T20 World Cup in 2007, the second season of the IPL and most recently the FIFA World Cup, all were tremendously successful. The mood of celebration that South Africans flaunt is contagious, no matter if you are in the stadia or in front a TV.
Amid these dark and gloomy moments, this is a much-needed breather for cricket and its followers.