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New Zealand to get invite for Champions League? - Sathish - 02-18-2009

Wellington: The organisers of the Champions League may invite New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 champions to participate in the cash-rich event, a media report said here on Wednesday.

"New Zealand Cricket hasn't yet been invited to the tournament but it is understood chief executive Justin Vaughan is hopeful of getting the green light before New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 final on March 1," a report in the Dominion Post said.

The top-two domestic Twenty20 teams from India, Australia, South Africa and England and one team from Pakistan are due to figure in the tournament, scheduled for October.

The newspaper has also started speculation on which team stumper-batsman Brendon McCullum will play if his home side -- Otago -- qualifies.

"Otago are at the top of the competition points table and are a leading contender to claim the State twenty20 title and progress to India in October. McCullum's Indian Premier League team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, are also strong contenders to make the Champions League."

"If Otago and Kolkata both book spots in the coming months it will provide McCullum with three options, after he qualified to play for New South Wales when he played in the Australian domestic twenty20 final last month," the newspaper wrote.

"McCullum's situation isn't unique, with other New Zealand players Jacob Oram, Scott Styris, Daniel Vettori, Ross Taylor, Kyle Mills and Jesse Ryder also facing the possibility of being torn between New Zealand and IPL teams."

The newspaper also claimed that the issue did figure in New Zealand Cricket's discussions in Christchurch on Monday "but it was decided not to make a firm call on the matter, or at least release their thoughts publicly, until the possible headache did actually arise."

Otago chief Ross Dykes also chose not to dwell on the issue unless they see an invitation from the organisers.

"It is a matter of crossing that bridge if we come to it. We didn't want to go around in circles discussing something which might not eventuate," he said.

Source: DNA