In a first in the game of cricket worldwide, the schedule and groupings for the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 season were finalized in a star-studded ceremony at New Delhi which was broadcast to live audiences nationwide on STAR Cricket. Top cricket administrators including Sharad Pawar, President-elect, ICC, Mr. Lalit Modi, Chairman, Champions League Twenty20, IS Bindra, Principal Advisor to the ICC and President, PCA, Manu Sawhney, Managing Director – ESPN STAR Sports and cricket stars from the past and present Indian and Australian teams were amongst the guests who were present at the glittering gala. The evening also saw the inaugural Twenty20 Champions awards being presented to the best performers from the domestic leagues of the constituent countries of Champions League Twenty20. In a significant development, ESPN STAR Sports also announced that music legend A R Rahman has been signed up for composing the official anthem of Champions League Twenty20.
Kiwi wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum, Australian southpaw Shaun Marsh, English batsman Graham Napier, Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, ace speedster Sohail Tanvir, South Africans Yusuf Abdullah and Charl Langeveldt, Knight Riders’ all rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Middlesex big hitter Tyron Henderson were felicitated for their electrifying performances in domestic Twenty20 competitions leading into the Champions League T20 event.
Lalit Modi, Chairman of the Champions League Twenty20, commenting on the inaugural edition of these specially instituted one-of-its-kind awards based on electrifying Twenty20 Leagues around the world, said, “It was necessary to honour and encourage performances in Twenty20 Leagues around the world as this is a format of the future from where Champions of Champions will emerge. The performances by these cricketers have captured the imagination of audiences worldwide and added to the popularity of the game, bringing in colossal increase in the fan following globally. I would like to congratulate all the winners and hope that these awards will inspire domestic cricketers worldwide to perform even better and aid in taking the immensely popular Twenty20 format to the next level.”
Manu Sawhney, Managing Director, ESPN STAR Sports, further added, “Champions League Twenty20 is a platform where the best of the world come and play. They are the best because they have already topped their league which makes Champions League Twenty20 the ultimate name in international cricketing excellence. It is premium, aspirational, truly world class and the highest honor the game has to offer. In our mind, it is to cricket what A R Rahman is to music. And we are proud to announce that the legend will now compose the official anthem for Champions League Twenty20. This anthem will reverberate not just in India but will transcend all language barriers across the global cricket fraternity.”