New Delhi: English Twenty20 champions Leicestershire Foxes will have their task cut out when they take on five other qualifiers who will fight for three spots available to complete the lineup of 10 teams for this year’s Champions League Twenty20.
The Foxes made it to the six-team qualifying phase by virtue of winning England’s domestic T20 tournament, Friends Life t20. The other finalist Somerset will be the second team from England to play the qualifying phase scheduled for September 19 to 21 at Hyderabad.
There are no surprises in the Leicester squad of 15 that also has firepower in the form of overseas players Andrew McDonald of Australia and Abdul Razzaq of Pakistan. Being quality all-rounders, McDonald and Razzaq can play a major role with both bat and ball.
A file photo of the Leicestershire Foxes team celebrating a wicket during a match in the Friends Life t20 tournament in England. (Getty Images)
Bowler and captain Mathew Hoggard and wicketkeeper Paul Nixon are the two other big names who bring international experience to the Leics outfit, which will be playing in drastically different subcontinent conditions.
They are grouped with Ruhunu Rhinos from Sri Lanka and Trinidad & Tobago in Pool B. And with two teams having the experience of playing on slow, low tracks in Sri Lanka and of late in the Caribbean, the Foxes will have to bring the best of their skills out to get accustomed to the pitch at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
The Foxes play their qualifying matches against T&T on September 20 and Ruhunu on September 21. Teams topping the two groups and the third best on points or run-rate will qualify for the main tournament.
Three IPL teams Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore; Cape Cobras and Warriors from South Africa; and Australia's South Australia Redbacks and New South Wales Blues are the seven teams that have already made it to the group stage.
Matthew Boyce, Nathan Buck, Josh Cobb, Jacques Du Toit, Harry Gurney, Claude Henderson, Matthew Hoggard (c), Will Jefferson, Andrew McDonald, Jigar Naik, Paul Nixon, Abdul Razzaq, Greg Smith, James Taylor, Wayne White.