CA to invite Tendulkar to compete in domestic T20

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Melbourne, Oct 24 (UNI) Cricket Australia (CA) will invite international stars like master blaster Sachin Tendulkar to compete in the domestic Twenty20 competition from 2009.

''CA is encouraging international stars from overseas to play in each side and increasing promotional support in a move to make the tournament a bigger bash,'' the game's national ruling body said today in a statement.

''Cricket Australia's Board, meeting in Melbourne this week for two days of Board and Annual General Meeting discussions, has approved that CA's management work with counterparts in South Africa and New Zealand to develop a regional T20 contest built on city-based, franchise-owned teams.'' Australia, South Africa and New Zealand have also put their heads together in a bid to establish a T20 competition for the southern hemisphere, to be launched by 2011.

CA Chief executive James Sutherland said the southern hemisphere concept had been developed over the past 18 months.

''Regional-level T20 cricket played at the level immediately below international cricket has shown it can capture the public imagination and create new audiences for cricket,'' he said.

''But, as we have seen in India, it needs critical mass to generate major public excitement and the regional concept we have been charged with developing provides that critical mass.'' India's hugely successful Indian Premier League (IPL) featured Australian and other international guest players earlier this year.

The southern hemisphere T20 competition is still at a concept stage. It is based on having ''a yet-to-be determined number of franchises in an Africa-centred eastern conference and a similar western conference with an Australian focus''.

The top teams from each conference would contest finals.

''Timings would complement IPL timings, creating opportunity for Indian players to participate,'' the CA said.

The new southern hemisphere competition could lead into the Champions League Twenty20, Sutherland said.

Any such direction would, however, require Champions League Twenty20 approval.

The competition will feature the top Twenty20 sides from Australia, South Africa, England, Pakistan and hosts India.

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