Ashes ''overkill'' threat dismissed

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London, Jan 29 (AFP) English cricket chiefs were forcedto defend themselves from accusations of Ashes overkillyesterday after plans were announced for England and Australiato play 15 Tests against each other in 24 months.

England would be the hosts in 2013 before heading downunder in winter 2013-14 to avoid a clash with Australia''sstaging of the 2015 World Cup.

The 2017 Ashes in England would then be brought forwardto the summer of 2015 to prevent a lengthy gap betweenmeetings.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) marketing bossSteve Elworthy told the BBC: "We want to break the cycle ofthe World Cup and Ashes arriving at once, get enough distancebetween the events, make sure the players have enough catch-uptime and we want to protect the Ashes brand."

"It''s important to maintain momentum. There''s a hugeresurgence for Test cricket right now, a massive wave ofinterest.

"With the home-and-away nature of the Ashes, fans willreally have something to look forward to. Everyone wants tosee the arch-rivals meet."

Cricket Australia and the ECB would both have to agreethe proposals before they could be included in the forthcomingInternational Cricket Council future tours programme. (AFP)SNK

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