Mumbai: With English counties giving it a miss, this year's Champions League Twenty20 will feature a reduced number of 10 teams in South Africa this September, the tournament's Governing Council said on Monday.
Of the nine teams which have already qualified for the tournament, only three -- Royal Challengers Bangalore (India), Victorian Bushrangers (Australia) and Wayamba Elevens (Sri Lanka) -- will be returning from last year's inaugural edition.
BCCI must not spare the rod
The only place which remains to be filled is from the West Indies and it will be confirmed in late July. Trinidad and Tobago represented the Caribbean last year.
This year's CLT20, scheduled from September 10 to 26, will feature 23 matches and the teams which have already made it through are IPL champions Chennai Super Kings (India), Mumbai Indians (India), Royal Challengers Bangalore (India), Victorian Bushrangers (Australia), South Australian Redbacks (Australia), Eastern Cape Warriors (South Africa), Highveld Lions (South Africa), Central Stags (New Zealand) and Wayamba Elevens (Sri Lanka).
English teams were forced out after their cricket board refused to adjust the dates of their domestic season to avoid a clash with the lucrative league. The England and Wales Cricket Board had preponed the dates after being requested by the BCCI initially.
But when the Indian Board rejigged the CLT20 dates for a second time, the ECB said it was left with no room to make adjustments again.
The tournament is a joint venture between the cricket board of India (BCCI), Australia (CA) and South Africa (CSA).
BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said, "The fact that only a third of last year's field have re-qualified to play for the $2.5 million first prize demonstrates the evenness of Twenty20 competitions around the world.
Bolt not chasing records this year
CA chief executive officer James Sutherland said the tournament provides youngsters the opportunity to rub shoulders with the bigwigs of world cricket.
"The chance for these players to display their skills on the world stage and further their claims for national selection is a source of great pride for Cricket Australia and the other founding members," Sutherland said.
CSA chief executive Gerald Majola said, "The Airtel Champions League Twenty20 will reinforce South Africa's reputation as an ideal host for international sporting events."