England in T20 dilemma | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 13, 2008

England in T20 dilemma

English cricket's senior administrator has poured cold water on plans to create a new money-spinning Twenty20 county tournament.
Proposals drafted by a group including Keith Bradshaw, the Australian secretary of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owners of Lord's, and Surrey chairman David Stewart for a nine-team tournament are set to be presented at an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) meeting on Tuesday.
However, ECB chairman Giles Clarke has made it clear he is concerned at any plan which doesn't cater for England's existing 18 first-class counties.
The new scheme, which has been discussed by MCC, Hampshire, Surrey and Lancashire -- all clubs whose grounds currently stage international matches -- envisages nine consortium backed by private investors and based at England venues playing in a 57-match tournament in 2010.
According to its backers, it would replace the current 40-over league, a competition many feel the English game could do without as there is no international equivalent, in the county set-up.
There are also suggestions for a separate Twenty20 event on Friday nights and a 50-overs per side one-day tournament to be played at weekends, which would wrap around the first-class County Championship.
But despite projections of a 50 million pounds (100 million dollars) profit in its first year, rising to as much as 85 million pounds (170 million dollars), which would be shared between the ECB, investors and overseas boards, for their role in supplying players, Clarke was unconvinced.
"There have been a lot of ideas pushed around, most of debatable economic validity," said Clarke, a self-made millionaire.
"Quite a lot of it is probably not going to find favour with me.
"I am firmly in favour of 18 counties playing matches for their home crowds. I don't see why they should be fearful for their county futures.
"History and tradition is something only a fool breaks asunder. We need to ensure whatever is produced will be economically viable, will provide cricket people want to watch and the right format for our national side in all forms of cricket," the former Somerset chairman added.
The new scheme also envisages the new teams entering a bidding process for players.
Plans for the tournament worth up to 1.3 billion pounds has been proposed by two members of the ECB management board, British media reported on Saturday.
A document was leaked to the press before play in England's Test with South Africa at Lord's on Friday.
The plans are for an annual competition in June featuring leading overseas players staged by clubs at the nine Test grounds. A player auction would be held to stock each team and there would be a salary cap of about 1.5 million pounds.
The proposals for a 25-day, 57-match EPL financed by private backers and owned by a company called New T20 Ltd could be on the agenda for consideration at a meeting of the ECB on Tuesday.

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