New Zealand, Australia and South Africa are exploring the possibility of setting up a regional Twenty20 cricket league from 2011, New Zealand's cricket chief said Friday.
New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said the league would revolve around city-based franchise teams, similar to the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Although planning was still at a conceptual stage, the league would be centred on an African eastern conference and a western conference based in Australia and New Zealand. The top teams from the two conferences would play in a final, he said.
The league would be timed to complement the IPL competition, giving the chance for Indian players to play in the new competition.
"The success of the inaugural IPL season in India is an indication of the demand for regional Twenty20 competitions played at a level immediately below international cricket," Vaughan said.
"Gathering a large number of the world's marquee players into a single competition over a compressed timeframe can capture the public imagination and create new audiences for cricket."
The regional-level Twenty20 competition would need international stars but it would also give domestic level cricketers a chance to develop their skills and earning power.
Vaughan said regional Twenty20 competitions could help cement cricket as the world's second biggest sport and develop a bigger pool of elite players.
New Zealand Cricket Players Association executive manager Heath Mills said his organisation supported the concept.