Cricket Champions League Preview

October 8, 2009 at 10:17 am Leave a comment


The first edition of the innagural Cricket Champions League kick starts this week in India. The competition comprises of 12 teams in four groups of three. 3 representatives are from India (IPL), 2 England, 2 Australia, 2 South Africa, 1 West Indies, 1 Sri Lanka and 1 from New Zealand. England Cricket looks at the competitors and in particular the potential performance of the two English qualifiers.

Group A

Somerset
Runners up of the English domestic Twenty20 competition, Somerset, head in with an impressive record in limited overs cricket. Justin Langer captains Somerset in his final appearances of his illustrious cricketing career. Langer and Trescothick are the only real household names, in a team not littered with stars but of excellent twenty20 cricketers. They are boosted significantly by Trescothick’s decision to travel to India and will be keen to give Langer the perfect farewell. Threscothick and Kieswetter are an explosive opening pair, backed up by a host of big hitters in the middle and lower order. Zander De Bruyn bludgeoned 391 runs in the domestic competition at 55.85 in an explosive middle order. The bowling may be a slight concern, whether they will be able to contain some world class batsmen remains to be seen. Alfonso Thomas is the main man in that line up. His accuracy, at a steady pace has troubled the best batsmen to end up as the leading wicket taker in the domestic competition. The spin department in particluar looks vulnerable, there will be a lot of pressure on the shoulders of young leg spinner Max Waller. This is a step up in class from what most of these players are used to back home, so the ability to cope will be key.

Squad: Justin Langer (capt), Marcus Trescothick, Zander de Bruyn, Omari Banks, James Hildreth, Craig Kieswetter, Pete Trego, Arul Suppiah, Alfonso Thomas, Max Waller, Charl Willoughby, Wes Durston, Mark Turner, Jos Buttler, Ben Phillips.

Trididad & Tobago
The ill fated Stanford Super Series showed us that Trinidad & Tobago can’t be underestimated, with a core of the superstars squad in this T&T squad. The winners of the domestic inter-regional twenty20 competition provide a real threat, with players suited to this format. The majority of this side have tasted international cricket with either the West Indies or the Superstars. It is a squad littered with twenty20 ‘specialists’. Darren Bravo is the stand out name, with explosive middle order hitting coupled with his threatening seam bowling. If they fail to make it through, the bowling department may be the main reason.

Squad: Daren Ganga (capt), Sherwin Ganga, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Lendl Simmons, Dave Mohammed, Kieron Pollard, William Perkins, Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Navin Stewart, Sunil Narine, Adrian Barath.

Deccan Chargers
The forth placed finishers in the group stages eventually went on to claim the IPL title. Led by wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist, the Chargers will be among the favourites for the competition. Gilchrist is joined by fellow big hitter Andrew Symonds, although Herschelle Gibbs is playing for the Cape Cobras. Bowling wise, the pace and hostility of Fidel Edwards is a real threat, with the accuracy of RP Singh and Ojha always likely to be in the wickets.

Squad: Adam Gilchrist (capt), VVS Laxman, Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds, Fidel Edwards, Scott Styris, Chaminda Vaas, RP Singh, Ryan Harris, Pragyan Ojha, Y Venugopal Rao, T Suman, Azhar Bilakhia, Harmeet Singh, Shoaib Ahmed.

Group B

Diamond Eagles
The young side containing very few internationals are already the underdogs in this competition. Despite having just four internationals in their side, the Eagles cannot be underestimated. The squad is made up of those who excelled in the domestic format, with a nifty bunch of Twenty20 cricketers. Captain Boeta Dippenaar, a former South African international, has had strong twenty20 exposure while playing for Leicestershire in England. Big-hitting allrounder Ryan McLaren impressed in his spell at Kent, more for his deadly accuracy and useful middle order hitting. He, alongside Tshabalala, we be crucial for the Eagles.

Squad: Boeta Dippenaar (capt), Dillon du Preez, Morne van Wyk, Mthandeki Tshabalala, Adrian McLaren, Ryan McLaren, Victor Mpitsang, Ryan Bailey, Jandre Coetzee, Cornelis de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Reeza Hendricks, Alan Kruger, Rilee Rossouw, Shadley van Schalkwyk.

Sussex
The English Domestic Twenty20 Champions have a great chance of progression. The English ‘kings of limited overs cricket’, boast more star names than Somerset with an effective group of cricketers. The mix of youth and experience have worked well for Sussex. Dwayne Smith’s decision to play for Sussex is a huge boost, explosive middle order batting and hitting sixes for fun. Luke Wright provides an innings of the same nature and expected to open. The big hitters are balanced with the more reliable and steady innings of captain Yardy and Ed Joyce. The bowling department is also looking strong, with second highest wicket taker James Kirtley a reliable and experienced opening bowler and death bowler, alongside Yasir Arafat. Chawla will always be a threat with his leg spin, with Yardy providing the economy. The balance of the side looks good and should be up there with the favourites.

Squad: Michael Yardy (capt), Dwayne Smith, Luke Wright, James Kirtley, Piyush Chawla, Ed Joyce, Joe Gatting, Robin Martin-Jenkins, William Beer, Andrew Hodd, Christopher Nash, Ben Brown, Rory Hamilton-Brown, Yasir Arafat, Chad Keegan.

New South Wales
Just take one look at the squad and you have to put them alongside the favourites. A strong bowling line up including those who deliver on a regular basis in the international arena. Brett lee,  S Clarke, Bollinger and Hauritz, is a deadly bowling line up. Brett Lee,  the biggest threat with his searing pace, with the accuracy of Clarke. Young Australian openers Hughes and Warner will be expected to provide the big hitting, with Hughes expected to feature in the middle order. The reliable Katich takes his place at the top of the order, with a role in holding together a good batting line up. Even without the injured Michael Clarke, Nathan Braken and Brad Haddin, the New South Wales will be among the mai ncontenders.

Squad: Simon Katich (capt), Phillip Hughes, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Moises Henriques, Nathan Hauritz, Doug Bollinger, Aaron Bird, Stephen O’Keefe, Ben Rohrer, Steve Smith, Daniel Smith, Dominic Thornely, David Warner.

Group C

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Another of the IPL sides in the competition, Bangalore are captained by former Indian spinner turned commentator Anil Kumble. The key will be the quality of the overseas players on show for Bangalore, although Jesse Ryder misses out. The South African quadruple of Kallis, Steyn, van der Merwe and Boucher are proven T20 performers. Injury has forced Kevin Pietersen to miss out, but with the quality on show, he is unlikely to be missed too much. The main issue for them is a bowling attack that leaked runs during the IPL..

Squad: Anil Kumble (capt), Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa, Jacques Kallis, Ross Taylor, Dale Steyn, Manish Pandey, Praveen Kumar, Jesse Ryder, Roelof van der Merwe, Mark Boucher, Vinay Kumar, Virat Kohli, Akhil Balachandra, Rajesh Bishoni.

Otago
The New Zealand qualifiers could be a suprise package, boasting a handful of international performers. One of which is Dimitri Mascarenhas, a ‘specialist’ in this format, with skiddy variations of medium pace and late order big hitting. The top order consists of explosive duo, Brendon Mccullum and Aaron Redmond. The accuracy of Ian Butler will work well in tandem with Mascerenhas.They will however be considered the underdogs, with the bowling looking particularly thin, and whether the domestic performers can deliver on a higher level.

Squad: Craig Cumming (capt), Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Aaron Redmond, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Greg Todd, Hamish Rutherford, Derek deBoorder, Nick Baird, Warren McSkimming, Neil Wagner, Matt Harvie, James McMillan.

Cape Cobras
A negative note to start the tournament on for the Cobras, with opener and captain Graeme Smith ruled out. Opener Andrew Puttick takes his place and the captaincy to open along side Herschelle Gibbs, who opted to represent his home club. On paper look a very strong side backed up by their superb showing in the domestic tournament. The international players will be expected to step up with great experience of twenty20 competitions interntaionally and globally. May seem weak in the bowling department but the less known names have earned a place in the team and cannot be underestimated. Chad Langeveldt, the specialist death bowler can change matches with accurate variations in the final few overs.

Squad: Andrew Puttick (capt), Herschelle Gibbs, JP Duminy, Justin Ontong, Charl Langeveldt, Claude Henderson, Monde Zondeki, Vernon Philander, Henry Davids, Ryan Canning, Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Derek Brand, Francois Plaatjies.

Group D

Dehli Daredevils
The IPL qualifiers see their hopes severely weakened with injuries to three overseas stars. New Zealand captain Vettori and South African AB De Villiers miss out. Paul Collingwood has unfortunately been ruled out after hitting a rich vein of from. However, English interest remains with Owais Shah’s inclusion in the squad, hopefully he will be able to get a game this time. The strong depth of players of the Daredevils is evident with the call up of Glenn McGrath into the squad. Elsewhere, the bowling has been boosted by the presence of Dirk Nannes who opted to represent the Daredevils in favour of group rivals Victoria. A potential problem could lie in the middle order, with de Villiers out, is there enough runs in them to back up the top order?

Squad: Virender Sehwag (capt), Glenn McGrath, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Gautam Gambhir, Dirk Nannes, Dinesh Karthik, Yogesh Nagar , Ashish Nehra, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Owais Shah, Pradeep Sangwan, Aavishkar Salvi, Rajat Bhatia, Mithun Manhas

Victoria

A record of winning three out of the four Big Bash (domestic T20 competition) tournaments and losing just 3 domestic T20 games in total surely makes last years domestic runners up the favourites. Built on a strong middle order of powerful batsmen in White, D Hussey and Brad Hodge, the latter has an impressive record in this format, while the rest have performed well for Australia. Backed up by an effective bowling attack of Siddle, Harwood and McGain. All of whom have become T20 specialists through the tournament and don’t leak much runs. Powerful all round, it will be a suprise if they fail to reach the final.

Squad: Cameron White (capt), Brad Hodge, Peter Siddle, David Hussey, Andrew McDonald, Jon Holland, Clint McKay, Rob Quiney, Matthew Wade, Aiden Blizzard, Aaron Finch, Shane Harwood, John Hastings, Damien Wright, Bryce McGain.

Wayamba
The Sri Lankan twenty20 champions, will feel unlucky to have been drawn in potentially the toughest group in the competition. A team packed with international experiencecould be a suprise. The team consists of the players that make up a large majority of Sri Lanka’s T20 side. The bowling is reliable, with the dangerous Mendis, the accurate Maharoof and the lethal Udana, who took 16 wickets at 8.22 in the doemstic competition. A slight concern may lie in the batting line up. Captain Mubarak and Jayawardene lead a batting line up consisting of players who had failed to cut it at international level. A lack of a lethal power hitter is also a concern with a lot of pressure for the big runs on the captain. Maharoof could be key, with inside knowledge of rivals Dehli Daredevils after two seasons there, and also of the surfaces which they will play on.

Squad: Jehan Mubarak (capt), Mahela Jayawardene, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath, Farveez Maharoof, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Jeevantha Kulathunga, Mahela Udawatte, Thisara Perera, Sameera Soysa, Shalika Karunanayake, Isuru Udana, Ishara Amerasinghe, Chanaka Welegedara, Michael Vandort.

Fixtures and Scheduling

UK TV coverage will be on EurosportUK

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