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Domestic T20 champions should compete in CL T20

By Aakash Chopra
Monday, October 03, 2021

Bengal were reeling at 48/3 against Madhya Pradesh when Subhomoy Das walked in to bat. It was the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India's national domestic T20 tournament. He played the knock of his life when it mattered and scored 49 off 29 balls to take Bengal to a respectable total. Later, Bengal pipped Madhya Pradesh by one run when Sayan Mondal ran the last man out. This was indeed one of the proudest moments in the lives of these two cricketers, for anyone who's played in the domestic circuit knows that winning a national domestic competition takes a lot more than scoring runs and taking wickets. Many fine cricketers finish their careers without winning the silverware for their respective states.

Unfortunately, even after winning the highest honour for their state, both these cricketers along with many others would be feeling betrayed. Seeing teams like Ruhunu and Auckland play against Somerset or Cape Cobras in the Champions League, they must be feeling that it was their right to be a part of the event, for all that these teams have done to qualify is to finish in the top two of their domestic T20 championships.

The Twenty20 tale

In India, we have two domestic T20 tournaments - the much-celebrated IPL and the lackluster Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in which the entire country (27 state teams) participate. Since all the state teams compete, it's only logical to expect that the winner of this tournament is the domestic T20 champion and eligible for a Champions League berth.

Sadly, that's not the case, since only the teams playing in the IPL qualify for the Champions League. There's no denying that the standard of cricket in the IPL is better, but wouldn't it be fair to allow the champion team of the domestic circuit a chance to compete with the best? Make domestic champions play the qualifiers and allow them in the main tournament if they are good enough.

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