ICC chief promises star-studded Champions Trophy

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:International Cricket Council (ICC) chief Ehsan Mani said he was confident top stars would take part in the Champions Trophy in India later this year.

"I am sure the respective boards will manage their programme in the right way to ensure full participation," Mani said at the launch of the limited-overs tournament.

The ICC president was responding to media reports that England coach Duncan Fletcher and Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist wanted some players to be rested to prepare for the subsequent Ashes series in Australia from November 23.

"The Aussies have never won this tournament and I am sure they will be determined to do so this time," said Mani, who also signed the host country agreement for the event with Indian cricket chief Sharad Pawar.

The tournament, featuring all the 10 Test-playing nations, will be held at four venues across India from October 7 to November 5, Mani said.

All matches will be day-night games to be played at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai, the Sardar Patel stadium in Ahmedabad, the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur and the Punjab Cricket Association ground in Mohali.

The tournament begins with a qualifying league in which two former world champions, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, will clash with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe for the two remaining slots in the main event.

The qualifiers will join Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, England and New Zealand - the top six one-day nations on April 1, 2006 - in the super league to be played in two groups of four teams each.

The top two from each group will enter the semi-finals.

"All matches will be day-night encounters because we want a uniformity in the tournament," said Mani, who also thanked the Indian government for giving special tax exemptions.

"The timing of the event is hugely significant since it comes about six months before the World Cup in the West Indies in March-April.

"It is a chance for players in every side to secure their places. It will give teams the opportunity to develop and test their plans and strategies before the World Cup," he said.

Pawar said India was determined to put up a good show, both on and off the field.

"The Indian cricket board is very excited to be hosting this prestigious event that will bring all the major cricket-playing sides together in India for the first time in 10 years," Pawar said.

"It is a very important event for world cricket and we look forward to working in partnership with the ICC to deliver an exceptional tournament."

India has not hosted a major cricket tournament since the 1996 World Cup which it co-hosted with Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The three South Asian nations, alongwith Bangladesh, have also bid for the 2011 World Cup where they face a stiff challenge from a joint bid by Australia and New Zealand.

The ICC will discuss the rival bids in Dubai on Sunday.

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