Players, fans loyalty put to test as new clubs join Champions League

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LONDON - Within a fortnight’s time, the Victoria Bushrangers could be facing Anil Kumble-led India’s Royal Challengers of Bangalore in a final that will determine the best Twenty 20 team in the world, yet its fiercely proud captain, Cameron White, would be wearing Royal Challengers red instead of the navy blue of his Bushrangers.

The most apparent conclusion is that it is an example of rich Indian teams flexing their financial muscle, as much to hold back the other sides as to enrich their own.

Skip 16 months forward, however, and exactly the same thing is likely to be happening - and in much greater numbers - once two new teams are added to Australia’s Big Bash competition in time for the 2011-12 summer, The Age reports.

The Champions League Twenty20 2010, which kicked off on Friday, has for the second consecutive year witnessed the absence of a key player in the Bushrangers squad due to an onerous contract with his Indian Premier League team.

Last year, Dirk Nannes’s decision to play for the Delhi Daredevils generated significant disquiet within the team and the public, although Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Paul Marsh believes there is more understanding of the decision this time around, for White.

‘”It’s probably a whole different scenario this year because players were conditioned to it and probably expected, whereas last year was the first time and a lot of people didn’t understand the lay of the land. Now, players definitely have a better understanding of how it works. They don’t necessarily agree with it, mind you, but it’s a bit of a reality in cricket,’” the paper quoted Marsh, as saying.

“Players can play in different teams. We see it in soccer and other sports where you have big club competitions, and because the Twenty20 season’s so short [in most countries] you have to take your opportunity,” he added.

Meanwhile, Victorian coach Greg Shipperd said there was ‘no doubt’ internal expectations about players’ availability for Twenty20 had changed, and that White is not facing any grudges because of it. (ANI)

Filed under: Cricket, Soccer

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