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Kent eligible for this season's Champions League after Justin Kemp and Azhar Mahmood sever ICL links

Justin Kemp's decision to quit the ICL is good news for Kent
Justin Kemp's decision to quit the ICL is good news for Kent

by Graham Jones

All-rounders Justin Kemp and Azhar Mahmood have withdrawn from their ICL contracts paving the way for Kent to qualify for the Twenty20 Champions League.

The winners and runners-up of the domestic Twenty20 Cup competition qualify for the competition, but any team with ICL-contracted players is banned from playing.

Kent were excluded from the planned 2008 competition, which ultimately never took place, for this reason despite having finished runners-up to Middlesex in the Twenty20 Cup.

But Kemp, pictured above, and Mahmood's decision means Kent could compete in the 2009 tournament if they get through to this summer's Twenty20 Cup final.

Kent chairman George Kennedy said: "It's great news for Kent. I tried to seek a reinstatement for the years we missed out but without success.

"Both Azhar and Justin have given up serious money to play for us and they deserve our sincere thanks. Given our start to the Twenty20 campaign, it is very encouraging."

Kemp and Mahmood would not be allowed to play in the Champions League until 2010, but are eligible for qualifying games.

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