BCCI may ask ICC to reschedule tours for IPL's sake

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Sydney, Feb.23 : The influential Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is likely to build pressure on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to reschedule tours from next year to ensure players can appear in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Days after the ICC stood by its Future Tours Program - which outlines fixtures for all Test playing nations until 2012, IPL owners have decided that it won't do, as backers of its eight franchises, who have spent 45 million dollars on international talent, expect the players to be made available, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The paper reveals that a group of major cricketing figures from the subcontinent, led by BCCI members, will ask the ICC to create an annual window for the Twenty20 tournament, and they will receive support from Cricket Australia.

The BCCI is also expected to ask the England and Wales Cricket Board to rework its county cricket calendar so that its players can participate.

IPL co-founder Inderjit Singh Bindra, who is tipped to become the next ICC CEO from this June, said the world cricket body would have no choice but to comply if most of its members request a gap.

"The ICC works for the member countries and if the majority of members are appealing for a gap for the IPL, then the ICC must go by that," Bindra said.

"We have had approaches from other boards. There is pressure from the players also, they want to play in it, the paper quoted Bindra, as saying.

"Also there is a lot of interest in the tournament. It will do the optimum good to have the largest availability of players for the IPL, and it will keep the players and boards happy," he added.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has stated that he would support an annual window for the IPL, as has Australian captain Ricky Ponting.

The IPL will be brought forward by a fortnight from next year to start in early April and finish in mid-May, but every country except Pakistan is due to play at some stage of that six weeks.

Australia are slated to host South Africa in the first two weeks of April 2009, but then are free until June, when they defend the Ashes.

Previously, the BCCI has said it would not interfere with the Future Tours Program. But the overwhelming interest stemming from Wednesday's player auction, which created six instant millionaires, including Australian Andrew Symonds, has left no doubt in their mind as to the importance and potential of the tournament.

And with some of the world's most influential businessmen now pushing the board to take action so their international stars can line up for the entire tournament from next year, the ICC is headed for a showdown with India.

The money is too good to pass up for the players, and franchise owners are happy to pay them in the belief they will double and triple profits on their investments through on-field success and marketing of their companies.

ANI

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