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England stars to miss Champions League

Harish Kotian | August 14, 2008 16:35 IST

The International Cricket Council can breathe easy now that the Twenty20 Champions League has been pushed back to December. But the tight international schedule ensures that the tournament can only be accommodated between December 3 and 10.

Those dates will certainly hit England [Images] and India, as the tournament falls right in the middle of England's tour of India in November-December.

India host England for seven one-dayers between November 14 and December 2, while the two Tests will be played from December 11 to 23.

A question needs to be asked here: Is it really necessary to cram a domestic Twenty20 [Images] tournament in between such an important international series between two countries?

Asked about the change in schedule, the England and Wales Cricket Board made it clear that none of their Test players will take part in the tournament. Which means the likes of Kevin Pietersen [Images], Andrew Flintoff [Images], Monty Panesar [Images] and Paul Collingwood [Images] will not figure in the Champions League.

"Our One-Day Series in India finishes on December 2, so, in theory, specialist ODI players could take part. I would not expect that players selected for the Test series, which follows the ODI series, would be able to take part in the Champions League as it would clash with the first Test and a three-day warm-up game leading up to it," ECB Media Relations General Manager Andrew Walpole told

Meanwhile, India who have nearly two different squads for Tests and one-dayers, have an easy choice. Only Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images], captain of Chennai Super Kings [Images] is a concern. It will be interesting to see whether the BCCI will allow him to miss a Test match to take part in the Champions League if his team makes it to the final.

Australia [Images] and South Africa [Images], the other two organisers, also agreed to make changes in their tour programme and accordingly the first Test in Perth has now been pushed back by five days and will start on December 17.

All this pushing and shoving clearly shows how some countries are taking the ICC [Images] for a ride by scheduling money-spinning tournaments at their own will.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa announced on Thursday that pushing back of the Twenty20 Champions League was a goodwill response the International Cricket Council's request to consider new playing dates for 2008. The ICC had asked the organisers to consider alternative dates in 2008 in order to offer a clearer window after the ICC Champions Trophy, which is scheduled for September 2008.

But scheduling a domestic tournament right in the middle of an international tour is something even the ICC may not have envisaged.

The organisers, driven by Lalit Modi's greed for the mega bucks, it seems, are ready to tackle every obstacle in their path, even if it means at the cost of Test cricket.

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