ICC to make room for IPL

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Dubai, Feb 26 (UNI) After wowing the criket world with its million-dollar deals, the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to get a prominent position on the international calendar with ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed saying it could be accommodated as early as next year.

''Countries could agree to move their tours,'' Speed said.

''This would be permitted by ICC if it can be achieved without having a flow-on effect for any other tour or ICC event. For the members to agree that there is to be a permanent window in the international schedule, for the IPL, which is a domestic competition, seven full members would need to vote in favour of it.'' The subcontinent boards were keen to have a six-week gap in the international cricket calendar from next year so all players can take part in the IPL. According to Speed, the concept would be approved if supported by seven member nations of the ICC, although it would extremely difficult to negotiate.

If the proposal does receive the green light, the future tours program, which maps out international matches for all countries until 2012, would have to be rearranged and cleared of fixtures from early April to mid-May next year when the IPL will be played.

Speed however, warned cricketing nations that the schedule of the billion-dollar Twenty20 league should not dictate international fixtures. He foreshadowed several problems in moving scheduled tour games around and reminded ICC members that apart from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), there would be no income for them from the tournament.

''International cricket is the lifeblood of the ICC members.

Apart from India, they do not receive any financial reward from the IPL,'' Speed said. ''It is a paramount consideration for them that they maintain their international schedules and play at the times that suit them best.'' ''International cricketers have been coached and developed by their home countries, states, provinces, counties and clubs,'' he added. ''They are in demand by IPL teams because they are international cricketers. Their primary duty is to their country.'' UNI XC AB GC1150

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