Dubai, July 20 (ANI): The teams in this year's ICC Champions Trophy (ICC CT) in South Africa will be battling it out for a record prize pool of four million dollars, it was confirmed today.
The figure is an almost four-fold increase in the prize money on the 2004 and 2006 editions of the tournament, which saw a total of 1.15 million dollars on offer on each of those occasions.
The funds are at stake during a re-modelled short, sharp event of 15 matches in only 14 days in September and October taking place at two venues - Centurion Park and The Wanderers.
Details of how the prize money will be divided up will be announced in due course but the new format and the increased prize pool are just two of a series of innovations, with others to be announced in the coming weeks, which illustrate the importance and value of the ICC CT.
For the first time the ICC CT will feature only the top eight sides in the world in the only global multi-team 50-over-a-side tournament between the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean and the next edition of that event, in the Asian sub-continent in two years' time.
Those teams - Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, hosts South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies - have been divided into two pools of four, with the top two from each pool progressing to the semi-finals stage.
The action begins on September 22 with hosts South Africa in action against Sri Lanka in a day-night encounter at Centurion Park (the location for the women's world cup final of 2005) and it will end with a day-night final at the same venue on Monday October 5.
Details of how to purchase match tickets for the ICC CT will be announced in Johannesburg on Thursday July 23.
Holder Australia begins the defence of its ICC CT crown against the West Indies in a repeat of the 2006 final.
That match will take place as a day game at The Wanderers, Johannesburg on Saturday September 26 and is part of a blockbuster day of action as, later on, India and Pakistan will go head-to-head in a day-night encounter at Centurion Park.
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We are delighted to announce the fixtures and prize money for this year's ICC Champions Trophy. This short, sharp event, with its new format involving only the top eight sides in the world in nation-versus-nation action, should be a fantastic spectacle to follow on from the others that have already taken place in the ICC's centenary year."
"The format, with two pools of four leading to the semi-finals and final, means that every match counts and each side has to hit the ground running. We are delighted to confirm a significant increase in the prize pool for the event which should provide the players with a major additional incentive to do well, on top of collecting what is, alongside the ICC Cricket World Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 title, one of international cricket's crown jewels. The significant increase in prize money is just the first of a series of innovations that we will be announcing as it draws nearer that mark out the ICC Champions Trophy as a high-value tournament for players, spectators and our members," he added.
"We are extremely grateful to South Africa for stepping in to host the event after it was postponed last year because of security concerns in the original host country, Pakistan, and we are also grateful to our members for finding a slot for it in what is a busy year for the global game.
"Thanks to our commercial and broadcast agreements the ICC Champions Trophy generates significant funds for those members which allow them to grow the game in their own constituencies, and that gives it additional value beyond the prestige of the title itself.
"And as the one global multi-team 50-over event between ICC Cricket World Cups, it will provide the world with an invaluable barometer of the form of these top sides in this version of the game ahead of the 2011 tournament in the Asian sub-continent.
"The new format is simple and means we have eight teams, 15 matches and one prize - it should be a great advertisement for the 50-over format of our great sport and I look forward to a prestigious and outstanding event."
Details of the how the prize money will be divided up and information on media accreditation will be announced in due course.
The ICC Champions Trophy began life as the ICC Knock-Out in 1998 and was played every two years through the 2006, changing its name for the 2002 edition.
The sides to have won the event are South Africa (in Bangladesh, 1998), New Zealand (Kenya, 2000), India and Sri Lanka (joint winners after the final was washed out in Sri Lanka, 2002), the West Indies (England, 2004) and Australia (India, 2006). (ANI)