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All set for top teams to play each other often

Published: Sunday, March 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Dubai:The ICC, in its two-day Executive Board meeting starting here tomorrow, is all set to revamp its Future Tours Programme (FTP) to make room for top teams like India, Australia and South Africa to play each other more often.

The earlier five-year cycle will be replaced with a new six-year cycle which will give these teams, and other Test playing nations, an option to play each other frequently.

''The draft FTP provides opportunities for several series to take place on a more frequent basis including Australia v England, Australia v India, Australia v South Africa, Australia v West Indies, Bangladesh v Zimbabwe, England v India, England v West Indies, India v Pakistan, India v South Africa and Pakistan v South Africa,'' an ICC release said here today.

''This six-year program of reciprocal touring obligations would replace the current five-year program. It would require all of the Full Member sides to play home and away series against each other within the six year period,'' the release added.

As with the present five-year FTP, tours would be required to contain a minimum of two Test matches and three ODIs.

When averaged out over a four-year period, Member boards should be scheduling an average of 15 Test matches and 30 ODIs a year.

ICC President Ehsan Mani said that it would be a particularly important meeting for the Board.

''The Board is the major policy-making body for international cricket,'' Mr Mani said.

''This meeting is an important opportunity for the Directors from across our membership base to guide the direction of international cricket on a range of major issues.'' Other issues on the agenda include the ICC Champions Trophy venues for this year.

The Board will consider a BCCI request to amend the venues to be used for the event. The proposal requests an increase in the number of tournament venues from three to four but the extra costs to increase the number would be borne by the BCCI.

The crisis in Zimbabwe would also be discussed in the meeting.

The Board will receive a verbal report from Peter Chingoka, the Chairman of the Interim Committee of Zimbabwe Cricket.

The Board will review the adoption of an ICC Anti-Doping Policy for all major ICC events. The proposed policy will comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code.

The recent incidents of racism by cricket fans, especially in Australia, would also be among the topics to be discussed.

The Board will receive an independent written report from India's Solicitor General Goolam Vahanvati into incidents of racist crowd behaviour Down Under. The ICC appointed Mr Vahanvati to conduct the report following a complaint from the United Cricket Board of South Africa.

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