Merriman says short game could copy Super 14 August 1, 2007

Retiring official suggests longer Twenty20 tournament

Cricinfo staff

Australia's domestic Twenty20 tournament begins on December 31 © Getty Images

The former Cricket Australia chairman, Bob Merriman, believes a Twenty20 tournament could copy the Super 14 rugby union template to lengthen the season and satisfy more spectators. Merriman, who will retire from Cricket Australia's and Cricket Victoria's boards this month, told the Age the proposal would not compromise Tests or ODIs.

"I don't believe we satisfy our customers," he said in the paper. "On the other hand, the players say we have too much. Clearly there is a conundrum."

Merriman, who has been involved in cricket for 50 years, said the introduction of Twenty20 in England showed there were ways for better presentation over a season. "At the moment we are basically late November until early February - that's terribly small," he said. "In my view the venues are starved and if the venues are starved so is the cricket population."

He suggested a season running from October to March. "Rugby has done it terrifically well with Super 14," he said. "It is an outstanding thing. Could you apply that to Twenty20 cricket?"

The Super 14 competition involves teams from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia playing over a four-month season. Australia's domestic sides will contest the two-week Big Bash Twenty20 tournament in December and January while the national side has fixtures against New Zealand in Perth on December 11 and India in Melbourne on February 1.