Hampshire and Yorkshire ready to go
Hampshire and Yorkshire launch their bids to become the first English team to win the Champions League T20 in South Africa this week.
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The two counties are England's representatives in the 14-team competition, having reached the final of the domestic competition.
English champions Hampshire look best equipped to launch a challenge - they will have Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi and rising Australia star Glenn Maxwell in their ranks.
Dimitri Mascarenhas is fit to take the captain's armband from Jimmy Adams, but he will have to do without England spinner Danny Briggs, who is on his honeymoon.
"We want to give ourselves a huge chance to do well," Mascarenhas said. "As cricketers, we want to do is play in front of big crowds and play in big tournaments and this is another opportunity."
Hampshire are grouped with New Zealand champions Auckland and Pakistan's Sialkot Stallions, and will fancy their chances of advancing.
The Kiwis have the likes of Martin Guptill, Andre Adams and Kyle Mills in their line-up, but the Stallions will have to do without key spinner Abdur Rehman, who is banned for drug taking.
Yorkshire are in a group with Trinidad & Tobago and Sri Lanka's Uva Next, and coach Jason Gillespie is less bullish about the Tykes' chances.
"We have nothing to lose in this tournament. No-one is expecting a lot of us. We're quite comfortable with that," he said.
Yorkshire - who will not have Jonny Bairstow or Tim Bresnan in their ranks - launch their campaign on Tuesday against Uva Next, who boast the likes of Shiv Chanderpaul, Jacob Oram and Umar Gul.
Trinidad & Tobago can include World Twenty20 winners Denesh Ramdin, Samuel Badree and Ravi Rampaul.
There are four IPL teams in the tournament, including defending champions and favourites Mumbai Indians who have a frightening array of talent including Sachin Tendulkar, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga.