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Middlesex desperate for England release

In a blow to Middlesex's ambitions in the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League, the England and Wales Cricket Board has refused to release Owais Shah and Andrew Strauss from the ODI squad and play for the county side in the tournament starting December 3.

Both players have been selected for England's two-Test series against India, starting on December 11, while the Champions League ends on December 10. Shah has also been picked for the seven-match ODI series, starting on November 14.

Moreover, Middlesex have been put in a spot of bother after Sundar Raman, chief executive of the Champions League, confirmed that all the eight teams cannot add new signings to the squad that won their qualifying competition.

"The rules are clear that only those players who enabled the squad to win the domestic championship can play in the Champions League," Raman was quoted as saying by The Guardian

"We are communicating with Middlesex, and will reiterate the rules." This rule makes Neil Carter -- signed on loan from Warwickshire -- Neil Dexter (from Kent) and Dick Nannes (has to represent his home state Victoria Bushrangers) -- ineligible to compete in the Champions League.

Middlesex, eager to put up a good show in the league after England's humiliating defeat in the Stanford Twenty20 clash, are planning to approach ECB for the release of Shah and Strauss for the USD 6 million championship with the champions pocketing USD 3 million.

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