Wow what an amazing tournament. I will definitely remember it for a long time. Airtel Champions league has given a new dimension to the domestic cricket throughout the world. When I was young I always fancied what if the best domestic teams play against each other and I must say Airtel Champions league has made my dream come true. During the 15 days event it shows us how competitive these teams can become if given a chance to play in the international arena. Domestic players do not get much recognition for their efforts and most of them remained unnoticed throughout their career. But now on they will strive to do more hard work because there is a platform for them to excel in the international arena and become famous as like their international counterpart. This is an exciting time in the history of cricket and 20/20 is making the cricketing world more excited and united. We have already seen that cricket is playing in many countries and they are trying very hard to compete in the international level and this tournament will surely encourage their players to work hard. I think this tournament will help in making cricket a truly global sport like football in the years to come. I am hoping that cricket will be played more competitively I the years to come. For the players this is a life time opportunity to showcase their skills and to represent their country and I must admit they did not disappoint us by playing some exciting cricket in the tournament. The Airtel Champions league was a fitting reward to the continuous efforts made by these teams throughout the year and a way of recognition to their cricket. Champions League is a tournament based upon the UEFA Champions League in football where the best football clubs of Europe fight for the title in a home or away league basis, so I will be very happy if in the following years to come, we can see more clubs from different continents participate in this mega event.
The prize money for this competition was the highest ever seen in the cricket history so it certainly attracted the attention of the players and the viewers which is a good start for this competition because now onwards the clubs will approach the game more seriously and professionally because the performances will count a lot both for the players and for the clubs like we seen afterwards that Pollard becomes a hot property and eventually landed a contract with the South Australia team for the big bash.
I think some of the performances were amazing and they are no less competitive than the performances seen in the international matches. The format of the tournament was a very challenging one for the teams because even a single loss proves to be detrimental for their success in the tournament which allows only the toughest teams to excel.
Coming to the teams in the Airtel Champions League, I am really impressed by the spirited performance of the Trinidad & Tobago (T&T). They are much unknown unit at the start of the league but as the tournament progressed they show us their class by excelling in all the departments of the game. What I really liked about this team is their flair for attractive cricket. No one can forget the innings of Pollard against New South Wales Blues (NSW). Lead by an impressive Darren Ganga they done very well by remained unbeaten till the final of the Champions League but eventually they lost to the more professional NSW side. Hats off to them they really stole our hearts by their amazing performance. I like to see same flair in the West Indies team in the years to come.
Coming to the Australian Teams (Victoria Bushrangers and NSW Blues) in the tournament, I believe they were the most professional sides especially NSW Blues having a good mix of experienced as well as new players. The likes of Brett lee, Stuart Clark, Nathan Hauritz & Simon Katich provides them the much needed experience alongside the enthusiasm and talent of David Warner, Phil Hughes, Doug Bollinger, and Mosies Henrique’s to win the inaugural Champions League. South African sides (Diamond Eagles & Cape Cobras) also managed to do well in the competition especially Cape Cobras reaching the semi-finals by playing competitive cricket throughout the tournament. Even Eagles were good side by showing cool temperament in the tense game against Somerset.
The other teams (other than IPL teams) in the fray did not bring much excitement in the tournament. English teams (Somerset & Sussex) looks quite ordinary so as Wayamba from Sri Lanka as well as Otago from New Zealand.
There are three IPL teams in the competition but none of them played as per the expectations of the home crowd. It is sad to see no IPL teams in the semi-finals. There were some brilliant individual performances which scintillate the scenes but there was clearly a lack of consolidated team effort. Deccan chargers looked quite out of sorts in the tournament and couldn’t manage to win even a single match. Delhi Daredevils played well in patches but lack the necessary punch to go the ultimate distance. For me the Bangalore Royal Challengers were the best of the IPL teams especially the performances of Ross Taylor, Kallis, and Kumble but they were undone by some brilliant individual performances of opposition teams especially the innings of Duminy in the inaugural match of the competition. The format made the task difficult for the RCB because the other teams had advantage of two points in the Super 8 by virtue of their win in the group matches. I think Manish Pandey and Uthappa played well amongst the domestic players. Overall RCB is a well balanced side and we can surely look forward to some exciting performances in the 3rd IPL championship.
I think Indian domestic teams should take some lessons from the Australian and South African domestic sides about how to approach the game more professionally. They showed us why they are best in the business. Their teams looked fitter, hungrier compared to other teams (T&T was the sole exception) and played hard as well as smart cricket throughout the championship.
To sum up I think it’s a fantastic start for the Champions League and it will grow more and more stronger in the years to come.