Twenty20 cricket on the rise

England, and their rivals, may soon be able to play up to 15 Twenty20 internationals in the year preceding a World Twenty20 tournament. World champions England will take part in just seven matches this year, before they defend their title in Sri Lanka in September.

They have already won a three-match series against Pakistan, and next summer will play a one-off Twenty20 against West Indies followed by three against South Africa shortly before they set off for Colombo.

But after a two-day meeting of the International Cricket Council's chief executives' committee (CEC) in Dubai, a recommendation is to be made to the full board that an increase in fixtures is permitted in any year when an ICC World Twenty20 is scheduled.

The CEC discussed the future of Twenty20 international cricket among several topics, and also concluded that the number of teams participating in the tournament should rise from 12 to 16 starting from the 2014 edition in Bangladesh.

That would increase the opportunities for non-Test-playing countries such as Ireland and Scotland. Twenty20 will also be at the forefront of the ICC's intention to find out whether cricket has a place in multi-sport global events such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

An ICC press release read: "The CEC decided to further explore an invitation for cricket to take part in the Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast in Australia in April 2018.

"The CEC also supported the key initiative in the ICC strategy to independently evaluate the pros and cons of participating in the Olympic Games."

In the much shorter term, the ICC may be prepared to ditch established protocol in an attempt to help Bangladesh's proposed tour of Pakistan to go ahead next month.

No visiting ICC opposition has set foot in Pakistan since the fatal attacks led on officials and the touring Sri Lanka team being transported to the abandoned Lahore Test of March 2009.

Bangladesh are still considering becoming the first to do so, but it seems the chances of ICC clearing their own neutral umpires and match referees to attend are much more remote.

This article was taken from the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper.

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 04:13