ICC CT may be more exciting than all past events: Lorgat

JOHANNESBURG: The sixth edition of the second biggest mega event, the ICC Champions Trophy, will begin from September 22 here in South Africa.

The ICC Champions Trophy 2009 was officially launched in front of a host of champions from a range of other sports at a local hotel in Johannesburg.

Addressing at the ceremony, ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said the event would be a showcase of the very best one-day cricket has to offer.

''''This ICC Champions Trophy is quite different and more exciting compared to all the ones that went before,'''' Lorgat said.

For the first time, the ICC Champions Trophy will feature only the top eight-ranked sides in the world in the only global multi-team 50-over-a-side tournament between the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean and the next edition of that event, in the Asian sub-continent in two years'' time.

The winner will receive two million dollars, the runner-up will earn one million dollars with the two beaten semi-finalists taking home $400,000 each. Those teams that finish third in their groups will each win $100,000.

Those teams-Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, hosts South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies- have been divided into two pools of four, with the top two from each pool progressing to the semi-finals stage.

The action begins on September 22 with the Proteas in action against Sri Lanka in a day-night encounter at Centurion and it will end with a day-night final at the same venue on October 5

Holder Australia begins the defence of its ICC CT crown on September 26 against the West Indies in a repeat of the 2006 final at The Wanderers, Johannesburg while arch-rival India-Pakistan will go head-to-head in a day-night encounter at Centurion.

The ICC Champions Trophy began life as the ICC Knock-Out in 1998 and was played every two years through to 2006, changing its name for the 2002 edition.

The sides to have won the event are South Africa (in Bangladesh, 1998), New Zealand (Kenya, 2000), India and Sri Lanka (joint winners after the final was washed out in Sri Lanka, 2002), the West Indies (England, 2004) and Australia (India, 2006).

The Champions Trophy was to be played in Pakistan last year but it was shifted to South Africa due to security concerns.