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The countdown is on as the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 is launched

The top eight-ranked ODI teams prepare to descend on South Africa for the ICC Champions Trophy 2009

The countdown is on as the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 is launched - Cricket News
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.
Top eight sides to gather in Johannesburg for short, sharp event from 22 September to 5 October

"It's all about prestige," says ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.

US$2million prize-money on offer for the winner with the runner-up receiving US$1million.

Gallo and Getty Images have photographs of today's launch in Johannesburg while SNTV will issue a video news release on its 1900 (GMT) bulletin. 

As the top eight-ranked ODI teams in the world prepare to descend on South Africa next month, the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 was officially launched in Johannesburg today.

In front of a host of champions from a range of other sports, ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said the event would be a showcase of the very best one-day cricket has to offer.

"This ICC Champions Trophy is quite different and more exciting compared to all the ones that went before," said Mr Lorgat.

"Effectively, it is in one location with two world-class venues at The Wanderers and Centurion. It is a short, sharp event with just the top eight-ranked ODI teams taking part in international competition," he said.

"The event is all about prestige. It features the best players competing for a major ICC title with more prize money on offer than ever before with a total of US$4million at stake."

Apart from pushing his side closer towards ultimate glory in the event, there is an extra incentive for individuals to excel during the ICC Champions Trophy. Each man of the match will win an exclusive IWC watch worth US$8,500.

As one of the world's leading brands in luxury timepieces, IWC Schaffhausen has been setting standards in technological development and highly complicated precision watch-making since 1868.

And each member of the winning team will win a unique ICC Champions Trophy winners' jacket which only a champion will be entitled to wear.

In another example of how the event has gained in prestige, the prize-money on offer has grown four-fold since 2006 and is now worth a total of US$4million. The winner will receive US$2million, the runner-up will earn US$1million with the two beaten semi-finalists taking home US$400,000 each. Those teams that finish third in their groups will each win US$100,000.

For the first time the ICC CT will feature only the top eight-ranked 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, host 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 Tuesday 22 September with the Proteas in action against Sri Lanka in a day-night encounter at Centurion (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 5 October.

Holder Australia begins the defence of its ICC CT crown on Saturday 26 September against the West Indies in a repeat of the 2006 final.

That match will take place as a day game at The Wanderers, Johannesburg 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.

The ICC Champions Trophy began life as the ICC Knock-Out in 1998 and was played every two years through to 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).

Note: Gallo Images has photographs of the launch. More information is available from your usual contacts at Gallo or Getty Images.

SNTV will issue a video news release from the launch with the first story expected to run on its 1900 (GMT) bulletin. Your usual contacts at SNTV will have more information.

Media accreditation for the event will open shortly. Details will be released concerning the process in the very near future.

More details of tickets and the ICC Champions Trophy can be found at http://www.icc-cricket.com/

For more information go to http://www.icc-cricket.com/

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