CA wants official status for Super Series

Published: Monday, July 5, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:Cricket Australia (CA) will press the International Cricket Council (ICC) to give next year's matches against the Rest of the World official status.

Australia are likely to face a composite world XI in three One-day matches in Melbourne and a six-day Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in October 2005 in the ICC's inaugural Super Series championship.

The One-day matches will be played on October 5, 7 and 9 and the Test from October 13.

The ICC has promised to keep the international calendar clear to guarantee players like the West Indies' Brian Lara, Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Pakistan express bowler Shoaib Akhtar and Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan can all play against Ricky Ponting's champion side.

Australia have not yet confirmed their place in the matches, but can do so by avoiding big defeats in the coming series against India, New Zealand and Pakistan and retain their place on top of the ICC's Test and One-day International ladders by April 1.

CA chief executive James Sutherland said he will urge the ICC to give the matches official Test and One-day status, as opposed to exhibition games.

"I think the matches are big enough and worthy enough of having official status so they do go in the record books," Sutherland said in Melbourne on Monday.

"That's something we'll certainly be talking to the ICC about to see if they can readdress that issue."

That view was supported by Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden, who said the concept gives his team extra incentive to remain on top of the world rankings.

"I'd prefer to see it have Test match status," Hayden said in Darwin on Monday. "I think it's an excellent opportunity and a great honour for Australian cricket.

"It's unique ... a genuine best of the era of the side versus what's been a really great Australian cricket side. It begs to be a great competition."

Australia outbid South Africa and India to host the series, which could attract millions of television viewers.

It also gives the world's best players some rich incentives - there is 1.4 million dollars (980,000 USD) in prizemoney for grabs in the Test and one million dollars (700,000 USD) for the One-day series.

The Docklands stadium roof and an extra day in the Sydney Test will also ensure weather doesn't play a major disruptive influence.

The selection criteria for the World XI and the team's coach and captain is yet to be determined, but Sutherland said the concept had the support of all cricket nations, who had vowed to make their best players available.

"There's a specific window that's been identified where there's no international cricket being played and I don't expect there will be any problems with the best players in the world being available to play," he said.

The ICC plans to stage the Super Series every four years.

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