Hampshire & Yorkshire ready for Champions League T20 test
Hampshire and Yorkshire will play against the best Twenty20 club teams in the world when the Champions League T20 tournament gets under way in South Africa on Tuesday.
FL t20 winners Hampshire have to negotiate qualifying alongside Auckland Aces (New Zealand) and Sialkot Stallions (Pakistan) in Pool 1.
T20 runners-up Yorkshire are in Pool 2 with Trinidad & Tobago (West Indies) and UVA Next (Sri Lanka).
Each qualifying pool winner will progress to the group stage.
There is a prize pool of £3.74m ($6m) with the winning team receiving £1.56m ($2.5m) and the runners-up taking home £810,000 ($1.3m).
The winner of Pool 2 will join Delhi Daredevils (India), Kolkata Knight Riders (India), Perth Scorchers (Australia) and Titans (South Africa) in Group A.
Group B will consist of Chennai Super Kings (India), Highveld Lions (South Africa), Mumbai Indians (India), Sydney Sixers (Australia) and the winners of Pool 1.
The top two from each group will progress to the semi-final and the final takes place at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on 28 October.
Hampshire and Yorkshire secured their place in the lucrative tournament by reaching the FL t20 final in August, which Hampshire
Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon told the club's website: "I think it is an important competition. It gives our players an opportunity to play against the best in the world.
"We are looking forward to that challenge. It will be interesting to see how we fare against some of the best teams in the world.
"The experience over here, whatever happens, is going to be massive.
"We have come here to try and win the competition first and foremost, but the first obstacle is getting in the main competition."
Hampshire's squad will include Shahid Afridi and Glenn Maxwell, although they are missing Danny Briggs.
Captain Dimitri Mascarenhas has travelled and hopes to be fit for the opening game.
And chairman Rod Bransgrove says he is delighted to get the opportunity to spread the Hampshire 'brand' across the world.
"I'm going out there with the team to offer support but I can assure you they will be up for doing the best they can," Bransgrove told BBC Radio Solent.
"We're quite good at Twenty 20 cricket. We know our game plan, everyone knows their role, they stick to it and we'll give it our best shot, like we always do.
"It's fantastic. This is an unbelievable club known all around the country and well beyond. A lot of famous cricketers such as Shane Warne and Kevin Pietersen and others have played for this club.
"That has given us a profile well beyond these shores and the people that have played here give us a very good rap and we have a lot to be proud of.
"Appearing in the Champions League will further that international reputation."
Hampshire squad: Shahid Afridi, Jimmy Adams, Kabir Ali, Sean Ervine, Liam Dawson, James Vince, Michael Carberry, Michael Bates (wk), Dimitri Mascarenhas (capt), David Griffiths, David Balcombe, Chris Wood, Glenn Maxwell, Hamza Riazuddin, Bilal Shafayat.
Yorkshire squad: Moin Ashraf, Gary Ballance, Andrew Gale, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Dan Hodgson, Phil Jaques, Adam Lyth, David Miller, Steven Patterson, Azeem Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ryan Sidebottom, Iain Wardlaw, Eddie Wilson.