ICC shows interest in Bucahnan's franchise-based model

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Sydney, Nov 15 (UNI) Former coach John Buchanan's radical idea of allowing cricketers to represent countries of their choice in order to make the game more competitive, seems to have impressed ICC chairman Ray Mali who wishes to meet the Aussie in next January for a detailed discussion on the matter.

To minimise Australia's stranglehold on international cricket, Buchanan has yesterday, proposed that the ICC should relax regulations and allow cricketers to pursue their career in nations other than those of their origin.

According to the 'Herald', Mali is open to the idea of allowing a more equal distribution of cricketing talent around the globe, and on that line would fix up a meeting with Australia's three time World Cup coach in January next year to examine the concept.

''I have always believed that cricket, as a global game, cannot remain static,'' Mali told the 'Herald' from Argentina yesterday.

''With what John Buchanan is proposing, we must study it and look at its merits. John is a student of the game and he has spent a large part of his career devising new ways of improving things.

We need to explore it further and see if it possible to move forward with it.

''We cannot close the door on new ideas, new thinking about the game. The ICC needs to talk and listen to John. I will be in Australia for the Adelaide Test, and I will attempt to meet with him while I am there to discuss his ideas further,'' he added.

Interestingly, Buchanan's idea's were not entirely new. Earlier, New Zealand Cricket, had considered to export players from the sub-continent because of its limited players pool.

But the proposal eventually did not turn out because of cost factor and also the fact that under ICC regulations, a player must spend at least 183 days per year for four consecutive years in their adopted country before being eligible to represent it at the international level.

However, Buchanan argued and said that by relaxing those restrictions, the Aussie's surplus of talent could be used in a better way to compensate for the scarcity in other nations which will bring the game on a more even platform.

Although the ICC chairman was open to ideas, he seemed a little sceptical about eroding the game's nationalistic importance.

''At the end of the day, Test cricket is about the pride of one country playing the pride of another,'' Mr Mali said.

''I don't believe it is unhealthy for the game that Australia is very strong. Other countries need to understand and try to copy what it is the Australians are doing. They must find out the factors that have made them such a powerful side.'' UNI

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