World cricket needs to respect all three formats and players

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Melbourne, Jul 5 (UNI) While Twenty20 cricket is being considered as a strong vehicle that can take the game anywhere and everywhere, but Cricket Australia has told the world leaders that they should not lose sight of the fact that the game's prosperity has been built on 50-over matches which should be maintained.

''Twenty20 is a winner, it's here to stay and the challenge for us is to find the context and the balance to ensure that we don't trip over our self (or each other) in our enthusiasm to ride the wave and capitalise on it,'' CA chief executive officer James Sutherland said to an ICC members' forum in Dubai yesterday.

''In this context, we should never lose sight of the fact that international cricket is the foundation on which this game has been built.

''It is not only our foundation, but for all members, possibly with the exception of India, we couldn't survive without it.

International cricket is our lifeblood we compromise it at our peril,'' Sutherland added.

The CA chief said the financial success of the modern game has been built on ODI cricket.

''Within this current bundle of commercial rights, our short term future includes pinnacle (ICC Cricket) World Cup events in 2011 and 2015; we owe it to ourselves to ensure that ODI cricket continues to be a popular force in the game, he noted.

Sutherland strongly supported the Test Championship concept showcased to ICC members' chief executives and the ICC Board during the week.

The end of the current Future Tours Program (FTP) in 2012 provided a tremendous opportunity to deliver improved structure and context to the schedule of international cricket.

''Let's face it, generally speaking, the FTP is currently a hotch-potch of bi-lateral tour arrangements that, given the current volume of international cricket, produces matches that no longer linger in the memory or have lasting meaning,'' he said.

The Championship concept, leading to semi-finals and a final, and an unambiguous world champion in each four-year cycle, offered a chance to provide fans with context without damaging the essential character of Test cricket, which is the premier form of the game.

He said Twenty20 cricket had only reinforced the cricket's strength and popularity.

Sutherland said the significance of the IPL and its relationship with the BCCI is not unreasonable for the respective boards and expect that IPL will seek to preserve and protect international cricket on behalf of all ICC members.

He called on administrators to respect the role of players and to listen to their views.

''They make the game a joy to watch, they were once just sportsmen but in this day and age they are now professional entertainers,'' he said.

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