County Championship round-up: Middlesex look to ICC for Champions League blessing

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The Independent Online

Middlesex are awaiting official confirmation that the Champions League will be an authorised event before accepting an invitation for this October's tournament.

England's Twenty20 Cup winners have received an offer to compete in a tournament with two teams each from India, South Africa, Australia and a side from Pakistan to determine the world's best domestic exponents of the game's shortest form.

The event is due to be staged in India from 29 September to 8 October – starting just one day after the Champions Trophy finishes – and the International Cricket Council has ruled that no official events can be staged a week before or a week after a global event.

India have argued that as there are only domestic teams in the competition it should not be regarded as an international event, but until that is clarified by the ICC Middlesex are awaiting clearance.

"We've received the official invitation," confirmed Middlesex secretary Vinny Coddrington. "There is an issue over whether it is an officially sanctioned event but we hope it can be resolved. We will be delighted if this is sorted out because it is clearly a tournament we would like to take part in and it would be a great disappointment if that did not happen."

Kent, the beaten finalists in Saturday's Twenty20 Cup final at the Rose Bowl, have not been invited to the Champions League because they used two players – Justin Kemp and Azhar Mahmood – who featured in the rebel Indian Cricket League.

In the County Championship First Division yesterday, a century partnership between Robert Key and Joe Denly gave Kent an excellent start to their first-innings reply as they reached 241 for 3 against Hampshire. They were trailing by 126 runs when rain brought play to an end at Canterbury with eight overs remaining.

The former England batsman Marcus Trescothick managed 92 as Somerset ended day two still 166 runs behind Sussex on 253 for 4 at Horsham. Sussex, resuming on 382 for 6, progressed to 419 all out.

In the Second Division, Vikram Solanki and Stephen Moore took the Gloucestershire attack apart at Cheltenham to register the highest second-wicket partnership in Worcestershire's history. The pair put on an unbroken 301 in just 53.3 overs. Solanki is unbeaten on 179 and Moore is 120 not out.

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