As expected the Champions League Twenty2011 will be split in two parts, with a qualifier preceding the eventual main tournament in the 2011 edition.
The Champions League Twenty20 has been the spin off of the highly publicized IPL and involves the top Twenty20 teams from various cricket playing nations. In that aspect, it is not quite the ICC World Twenty20 but a format that is nonetheless appealing because of the variation of teams it brings together, giving additional credence to the teams that do win their respective domestic competitions.
This year though the Champions League Twenty20 deviates from its past two formats in that there will be a Champions League Twenty20 Qualifier 2011 that will pick three teams that will join the others in the main edition of the Champions League Twenty20 2011.
The three qualifying teams will be chosen on the basis of their tournament that will see six teams take on each other to make the second leg of the tournament.
To be staged in Hyderabad between the 19th of September and the 21st of September, 2011, three teams have already been named while three others will be declared with the respective domestic Twenty20 tournaments are completed.
Those having already making it to the Champions League Twenty20 2011 qualifier include the team that finished fourth in the IPL 4 season, the Kolkata Knight Riders, the Auckland Aces from New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago representing the West Indies.
Sri Lanka will decide the winner from the upcoming SLPL – Sri Lankan Premier League – while England are yet to complete the Twenty20 tournament. England, it may be recalled were not part of the plans – for fielding ICL players in Justin Kemp and Azhar Mahmood – of the 2008 edition which was eventually cancelled, played the 2009 edition but did not in the Champions League Twenty20 2010 as England were yet to complete their domestic Twenty20 cup tournament and could not complete their domestic season in time to release their players for the CLT20.
Trinidad and Tobago created a splash in the inaugural year while the addition of a fourth IPL team in the contest is quite an obvious attempt to ensure that the attention that is largely created by interests from cricket fans in India continues to pay off even in the spin off. The Kolkata Knight Riders though do not have a direct ride. Instead they must first make it past the qualifier before they join the other three IPL teams in the main event.
While the Champions League Twenty20 2011 has been bifurcated as such to ensure that only the crème de la crème teams qualify for the tournament, thereby eliminating too many one sided matches, it had also meant two mini Twenty20 tournaments instead of one. At a time when the IPL 4 has suffered from the exhausted cricket fan who simply perked up his nose and turned away, one may question the merit of the diversification of the tournament. But only time will tell whether the CL T20 2011 qualifier and the main CL T20 2011 will fare better than it did for the IPL 4 season.