International Cricket Council chief Malcolm Speed has suggested a "window" could be created in the game's crowded schedule for the Indian Premier League (IPL) by as early as next year, according to a report Tuesday.
Speed said he believed it would be possible to reschedule tours around the lucrative IPL Twenty20 competition if seven full member countries of the ICC reached consensus, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The Herald said Speed thought negotiations on rejigging the ICC's Future Tours programme, which outlines fixtures for all Test playing nations until 2012, would be "extremely difficult" but could be completed by next year.
"Countries could agree to move their tours," he was cited as saying. "This would be permitted by the ICC if it can be achieved without having a flow-on effect for any other tour or ICC event.
"For the members to agree that there is to be a permanent window in the international schedule for the IPL, which is a domestic competition, seven full members would need to vote in favour of it."
A six-week gap in the international touring schedule from mid-April would meet pressure from players keen to cash in on the generous payments on offer for joining the IPL.
But Speed said while players may benefit, no national cricket association aside from India stood to gain financially if the existing tour schedule was changed.
"International cricket is the lifeblood of the ICC members," he said.
"Apart from India, they do not receive any financial reward from the IPL. It is a paramount consideration for them that they maintain their international schedules and play at the times that suit them best."
He said players should put their national associations first.
"International cricketers have been coached and developed by their home countries, states, provinces, counties and clubs," he said.
"They are in demand by IPL teams because they are international cricketers. Their primary duty is to their country."