Justin Vaughan, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive, believes that the country's domestic Twenty20 winners will be invited to next year's Champions League Twenty20, despite their struggle to compete in the first two editions of the event.
"I would be confident that a New Zealand team is still a very cemented part of the Champions League," Vaughan told the Dominion Post. "Obviously the tournament organisers have the ability to review that, but my understanding is that the number of teams would remain the same, if not expand."
Central Districts Stags, the current New Zealand Twenty20 champions, failed to win a single game from four matches in the ongoing Champions League in South Africa, crashing to a 74-run defeat to Sri Lanka's Wayamba in their last group encounter. Otago lost both their games in the inaugural edition of the tournament last year.
Central Districts were competitive in two of their matches though, against Victoria and South Africa's Warriors, taking both games to the final over. "Obviously, the final match was disappointing, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that they were pretty competitive in a couple of their games," Vaughan said. "I don't think you can draw conclusions on the basis of one poor performance by the Stags."
There were some mitigating factors as well. Central Districts lost Ross Taylor to IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore, and were missing the injured duo of Graham Napier and Jacob Oram.
NZC has decided to allow two overseas players per team in the domestic Twenty20 event, the HRV Cup, which will be played in December, and Vaughan said the decision could brighten New Zealand's chances next year, depending on whether the overseas players were available to play for the New Zealand franchise that qualifies.
Central Districts did benefit gain financially from the event though. The team took home US$400,000 - US$200,000 as their share of the prize money and another US$200,000 as compensation from Bangalore for the right to have Ross Taylor play for them. Under the NZC agreement, Central Districts gets two-sevenths of the money, with the rest divided equally among the other five major associations.