Twenty20 fever grips English cricket chief

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:English cricket boss David Collier could not contain his delight at the prospect of hosting the first full Twenty20 World Championship in 2009.

In Twenty20, the shortest form of the professional game, it is important teams are quick off the mark and a day after a board meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive, Collier wasted no time in lauding his team's "success".

"The summer of 2009 promises to be a true festival of world cricket throughout England and Wales," Collier said in a statement.

"The ICC Twenty20 World Championship will be the first one in which all full member nations must take part.

He added: "The decision by ICC is a fulsome demonstration of confidence in the ECB's ability to stage world-class events at world-class venues and ECB's role in creating Twenty20 cricket."

However, the statement also noted that a decision on the Twenty20 World Championship had to be ratified by the ICC annual conference in London in July.

Meanwhile there is still time for the complex series of trade-offs that have led to the World Championship's creation to unravel.

Pioneered in domestic cricket in England three years ago, Twenty20 has proved popular with spectators around the world.

But the Indian board, which presides over cricket's economic powerhouse, (broadcasting rights to cover matches in India for the next four years were sold last month for a staggering 612 million dollars) has so far refused to participate in Twenty20 matches.

There are fears that any growth in the shorter game will diminish the appeal of the standard 50-overs per side one-day international, which is currently the biggest money-spinner for cricket broadcasters.

But with India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh keen to stage the 50 overs per side World Cup in 2011, a compromise deal is now on the table.

The Asian quartet have seen the deadline for submitting a 2011 World Cup bid extended to April 21 - to the reported annoyance of Australia and New Zealand who've already made a joint bid to stage that tournament.

England is down to stage the 2019 World Cup but if the Asian bloc fail to produce a "compliant" submission to stage the 2015 World Cup by April 21 this year then the ECB will be invited to host that event instead, with the 2011 edition in Australia and New Zealand.

If the Asian bid is "compliant" then a straight choice with Australasia over the location of the 2011 and 2015 World Cups looms.

Next year the ninth World Cup will take place in the Caribbean.

The ICC, which hopes to stage a major tournament on an annual basis, in addition to the quadrennial World Cup and biennial Champions Trophy, is aiming to stage an "invitational" Twenty20 World Championship in 2007.

However, Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Paul Marsh said the last thing the game's stars needed was more cricket.

"The current international players are already at breaking point with regards to the volume of cricket.

"To introduce event on top of the already ridiculously hectic schedule places further strains on our elite players."

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