By Dhananjay Devasper
The Champions League is back. The promos have increased in number and have got louder. It’s touted as the T20 tournament which decides the best club side in the world. The biggest draws in this tournament are most definitely the Indian T20 Club sides - defending champions Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians.
The thing that could derail this tournament in terms of viewership and revenues would definitely be the absence of its biggest stars. Sachin Tendulkar returned from the current ODI series in England with a toe injury. Harbhajan Singh was undone by a stomach injury.
As it stands, the tournament itself is on a very sticky wicket with the uncertainty over the participation of several big names because of fitness worries. Corporates who own these teams stand to lose a lot of money if the stars don’t turn up.
But cometh the hour and cometh the miracle! And CLT20 is a perfect time for injuries to heal miraculously! It all started with the reports of a “special shoe” which was designed to protect Tendulkar’s toe. The next day, Harbhajan Singh declares himself fit. A pattern seems to be emerging here in terms of miraculous recovery or “aided” recovery, just in time for the Champions League.
Will Tendulkar’s toe now heal before the Champions League or will some medical expert from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), dramatically inform us lesser mortals, that if the shoe fits, Tendulkar will wear it, bear it and play.
Gautam Gambhir’s vision might suddenly clear and he might follow suit in declaring himself fit a la Harbhajan, and proceed to play to the galleries like his team owner Shah Rukh Khan.
It would have also been interesting if Delhi Daredevils had qualified. Would Virender Sehwag have “suddenly” recovered from their injuries?
During the England series, Mahendra Singh Dhoni had mentioned that players like Suresh Raina should be taking a rest, since they have been playing all forms of the game continuously. As captain of the Super Kings, would he leave Raina out from the team for the greater good of Indian cricket, or would the will of the sponsors and the team owners prevail?
The Club vs Country debate is ready to rear its ugly head all over again. It would behoove the powers in the cricketing fraternity to see the Champions League as a tournament, where careers need not be staked. Will players like Tendulkar, Raina, Gambhir and Harbhajan play in the Champions League? The coming days will tell us.
(Dhananjay Devasper is an "IT guy" by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)