Middlesex eye England stars
Middlesex hope to have Andrew Strauss and Owais Shah available for the Twenty20 Champions League.
Last Updated: 21/11/08 5:30pm
Middlesex hope to have England batsmen Andrew Strauss and Owais Shah available for selection for their bid to win the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League.
Both batsmen are on England duty this winter, with Shah part of the one-day squad already, while Strauss flies out for the Test series against India starting December 11.
Middlesex are the County Championship representatives in the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League - a lucrative tournament also taking place in India.
The ECB were thought to want to prevent both men from taking part in the tournament, but Middlesex are now hopeful they will be released to play.
Chief executive Vinny Codrington says the ECB have been helping them all the way, adding that Shah and Strauss' availability will depend on their selection for the first Test.
"The ECB have been absolutely fabulous," said Codrington. "We've had a close dialogue with them throughout and we continue to do so with regard to them (Strauss and Shah).
"We are optimistic that they will be made available to us to play in the Champions League.
"It clearly depends on a number of things in the run-up to the first Test match - for example whether or not Owais would get in the first Test match squad.
"But we are very optimistic that they'll be made available to us if they're not required in the Test match.
"The ECB are very keen for us as English representatives to do very well in the competition so they've been very supportive."
Codrington added that Strauss would be discussing the matter with the ECB, but insisted they would not try and prevent either man from playing for England.
"Andrew is meeting the England management tomorrow to discuss it," he added.
"From our point of view he's a centrally contracted player anyway but we would not wish to stand in the way of either player's desire to play for England.
"Owais has had very positive conversations with (England coach) Peter Moores this week and should he not be required for the warm-up game he will be flying down to meet us."
Middlesex signed Neil Dexter in anticipation of losing Strauss' services to England, but the county have been upset by the desire of the Champions League organisers to have the same side that won their domestic competition.
"We didn't think we'd have Andrew and therefore we wanted Neil Dexter to replace him," said Codrington.
"We appealed to the technical committee and they've rejected it.
"They are very keen that the side that goes to the competition is the same side that represented us in the domestic competition."