Western Australia coach Tom Moody on Friday joined the chorus against the boxed-in, frenetic scheduling of the much-anticipated inaugural Champions League, saying he was apprehensive about his team shifting gears from the four-day format to Twenty20 in such haste.
“Right now we are playing the Sheffield Shield but the Champions League is obviously the most talked-about event,” Moody told TOI from Perth, where WA are playing Victoria in a Sheffield Shield game which concludes on November 24. “Four-day cricket is very different and we hope we are able to adjust to T20 early because the CL is going to be an exciting concept with potential for the future.”
The Warriors play their first game against the Sialkot Stallions on December 4 at Bangalore, but it’s not just them who are worrying about making the switch to the faster format.
Indian skipper MS Dhoni, who has already warned about player burnout, will be leading Team Chennai in an event which has been sandwiched between the ODIs and Tests against England. If his team makes it to the final on Dec 10, then Dhoni will find himself captaining India in the first Test in Ahmedabad the very next day. A request from the BCCI to the England board to shift the Test by a day has been rejected.
Aussies Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey too will fly out from the Test against New Zealand in Adelaide, which ends on December 2, to play for Dhoni’s team against Victoria in Mumbai on December 4.
The CL, denied of a quick window within the packed calendar, was originally scheduled to be held in October but clashed with the now-cancelled Champions Trophy and was rescheduled to early December. “There is little choice,” said Moody, “That’s the way cricket has been going for a while now. The larger format has obviously been worked out before and teams are heading straight from Tests to T20. It’s a change top players are now expected to make.”
The Middlesex Crusaders, though, who kick off their tournament against Victoria on Dec 3 in Mumbai, haven’t played for a while and aren’t complaining. But chief executive Vinny Codrington told TOI: “We don’t have a problem but the explosion of T20’s popularity has caught everyone unawares. It’s hard to ignore but we have to be careful it doesn’t lead to a future overkill.
“T20 leagues are obviously the way forward but the schedule of such new tournaments is a concern which clubs, countries and the game’s administrators must erase by finding common ground. It’s not impossible. I think Dhoni’s recent comments are very important.”