The PCB has confirmed its domestic Twenty20 tournament for the 2008-09 season will be held in October, with the winners participating in the inaugural Champions Twenty20 League in December. The board said the tournament will be held in Lahore between October 4 to 8, with the Bagh-e-Jinnah and Lahore City Cricket Association Grounds playing host.
The tournament, formerly known as the ABN AMRO Twenty20 Cup, has a new sponsor in Royal Bank of Scotland. The competition will see 13 teams from 11 regions play for a winners' prize money of Rs 2.5 million (approx US$32,500). Five matches have been scheduled for each day, with the semi-finals and final on October 7 and 8. The PCB explained the tournament has been kept to the shortest possible time to allow the selectors pick Pakistan's Twenty20 squad for the four-nation tournament in Canada, starting October 10.
Sialkot Stallions, the 2006-07 domestic Twenty20 champions, were initially set to participate in the Champions League as the PCB hadn't organised a tournament in the previous domestic season. But with the league postponed from September to December, Pakistan now have the opportunity to field their newest champions. The Champions League also comprises England's Twenty20 Cup winners Middlesex, and the finalists from domestic Twenty20 tournaments in India, Australia and South Africa.
"There is the added incentive for the winners this year as they will represent Pakistan in the prestigious Champions League," Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, told PTI. The Twenty20 tournament will be the first major cricketing event in Pakistan after the Asia Cup in June and July.