2008 Champions Trophy to see 8 teams competing

MUMBAI: One of the problems in the recently concluded cricket Champions Trophy is that it took a while to take off. A major reason for this is that you had the minnows Zimbabwe and Bangladesh playing in the first week.

Recognising this fact, the International Cricket Council (ICC) president Percy Sonn has announced that in the 2008 edition, which takes place in Pakistan, there will be eight teams instead of the ten for this years event. "That should increase the intensity and excitement still further. The shape of the tournament has changed on more than one occasion since its inception as the ICC Knock-out in 1998 but there is no doubt this has been the best format yet.

“It meant there was something riding on virtually every match and that helped provide a real competitive edge to proceedings” he said.

Sonn also thanked India for hosting what he called an 'outstanding' ICC Champions Trophy.
"Although world champions Australia came through to take the spoils, this was still a tournament that, more than any other in recent memory, illustrated the unpredictability of our great game.

“The formbook was turned upside-down on more than one occasion, and matches such as Pakistan’s win over Sri Lanka, South Africa’s great comeback against Pakistan and the West Indies’ win over Australia in the group stages were illustrations of that.

“The ICC Champions Trophy also showed how fascinating one-day cricket can be when there is a balance between bat and ball and that balance helped define this tournament.”

Another highlight for Sonn was the way the players embraced the ICC’s dedication of the event to the Spirit of Cricket.

Only one player – West Indies’ Chris Gayle – was found guilty of a Code of Conduct violation in the 21 matches.

“We called on players and officials to honour the Spirit of Cricket in this tournament and my view is that they have done just that.

“The sight of the two sides meeting to congratulate each other after each match was not something the ICC ordered players to do; it was a spontaneous gesture that simply caught on and it was wonderful to see.

“And incidents like the one where Australia’s Michael Clarke refused to claim a low catch during a crucial stage of the semi-final against New Zealand without any recourse to the umpires will stick in my mind for quite some time.

“My hope now is that the spirit in which these matches were played will continue for the foreseeable future.”

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