Melbourne, Apr.22 : Cricket Australia (CA) has decided to increase the number of Twenty20 internationals from two to three, given the popularity being generated by the BCCI-sponsored Indian Premier League (IPL).
When Cricket Australia releases its remodelled program for 2008-09, it will feature two Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand and one against South Africa, news.com.au reported.
It is on the domestic front, however, that the power of Twenty20 could prove most potent. Australians have figured prominently in the opening stages of the one billion dollar IPL, but at this stage, Australian cricket in comparison to its players, cannot share the spoils.
In England, where centrally contracted players have been prevented from joining the IPL, Texan billionaire Allen Stanford is considering backing a similar, franchised league.
CA's General Manager of Cricket Operations, Michael Brown, said a franchise system would be considered in Australia if it could help attract new fans to the game.
"We will look at it and consider it. The idea is to bring new customers to the game rather than those who already attend Test and one-day matches. We have been watching the new concept with interest - the IPL has been exciting and looks like a fantastic television spectacle," Brown was quoted, as saying.
"Obviously, the value of the IPL is India's television rights, their audience is much larger than what we could get. I suppose England's in the same position [as Australia]. They are talking to a man [Stanford] who is looking to invest heavily in the game, so we'll have to look at how that goes if they set up [their own franchise tournament].
"As long as they don't damage the fabric of the competition for all countries, I think they are good experiences."
Only this month a survey of Australian players revealed almost half would consider early retirement to maximise their earnings in India.
"It's a very difficult discussion. There are a number of factors to be considered before you talk about carve-outs," Brown said. "The bread and butter of cricket is based around the Future Tours Program, and we need to make sure that is protected."