Cricket chiefs are seeking a compromise to salvage Texan billionaire Allen Stanford's multi-million pound investment in English cricket which threatens to run into conflict with the sport's laws.
Stanford wants the trademark black bats that have been used in the inter-island Twenty20 tournament he has bankrolled in the West Indies to feature in a proposed series of highly lucrative matches between England and his Caribbean All Stars side.
But last week Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the guardians of cricket's rulebook and the owners of London's Lord's Cricket Ground, revised the regulations regarding the composition of bats.
Although primarily designed to ensure modern materials such as carbon fibre are not used in addition to the traditional willow, the new rules also include a section forbidding changes to the natural colour of a bat's blade.
However, with Stanford proposing to pump 50 million pounds (100 million dollars) into five matches at his own ground in Antigua next year, talks are underway between the businessman and English officials to see if the fixtures can still take place.
One solution could be for the games in Antigua to be declared unofficial, thereby paving the way for the black bats to be used.
Stanford is also proposing to stage a four-nation Twenty20 tournament at Lord's in 2009, but there is no way the MCC, as custodian of the sport's laws, will allow unsanctioned matches to take place at the 'home of cricket'.
Stanford though may be prepared to accept that the matches at Lord's must be played under standard rules in return for a less formal set-up in Antigua.