Joyce eyes Champions League
Ed Joyce is determined to sign off his Middlesex career on a high by winning the Champions League in India next month.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 22/11/08 12:16pm
Ed Joyce is determined to sign off his Middlesex career on a high by winning the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 in India next month.
The 30-year-old has agreed to join Sussex next season but will represent the club where he has spent his entire professional career at the lucrative competition in Asia.
"If we do well in this and I do well it would be brilliant to finish off on a winning note," Joyce said.
"That's what I'm hoping. It's been weird because I moved clubs at the end of last season but I've been still hanging around and training with the Middlesex players even though I'm going to Sussex next season.
"I can't wait (for the Champions League). It's the first one ever, there are lots of good players and it's going to be huge."
Winning the Champions League, which comprises teams from Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan and England, would bag Middlesex £2million, which chief executive Vinny Codrington said would be a massive boost for the club.
"It will be great for everybody if we win it," he said.
"It will allow us to build a new indoor school and it will be great for the players - they'll be going round with very broad smiles. They stand to do very well out of it if we win and they deserve it.
"We are very excited and very honoured and delighted to be the first representatives from this country to take part in the Champions League.
"It's a new adventure for absolutely everybody and it's something we're looking forward to with a lot of relish."
Middlesex have been boosted by the news that England are considering the possibility of releasing Owais Shah from their warm-up match before the first Test against India to enable him to play in the Champions League group games.
Middlesex asked England if Shah could be available for the qualifying games of the lucrative Twenty20 competition, which are being staged immediately after the final one-day international in Delhi.
England initially refused Middlesex's request and wanted to keep Shah with the main squad for the three-day warm-up match in Baroda and the build-up to the first Test in Ahmedabad on December 11.
But coach Peter Moores has now softened his stance and will release Shah, providing he is not required for the match in Baroda when England are likely to field their Test line-up.
"If Owais isn't involved in the Baroda game we'd look to make him available," confirmed Moores.
"We're looking at every possibility because we know it's a big tournament.
"He wants to play competitive cricket and we finish (the one-day matches) on the 2nd and Middlesex's zonal games are on the 3rd, 5th and 6th so we'd look to make him available for those without affecting our preparation if he's involved in that first Test."
No decision has yet been made about whether Shah will be free to continue playing for Middlesex if they reach either the semi-finals on December 8 and 9 or the final the day after as that would interfere with the build-up to the Test.
With the availability of batsmen Andrew Strauss and Shah still in doubt, Joyce is keeping his fingers crossed that they feature.
"Owais played in the final and didn't play many of the games but showed in the final how good he is," he added.
"It'll be a massive boost for us to have them because otherwise we've got a lot of 19 and 20-year-olds and even though they've done brilliantly you want a bit of experience so it'd be very helpful if we have them.
"I don't like to set targets but we showed in the Twenty20 this year that if you win your first game it gives you a good chance, so we'll be hoping to win our first match against Victoria.
"If we can win that we'll feel like we've got a good chance of going through."