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Australia open to more T20s in Pakistan series

Brydon Coverdale

June 13, 2012

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Brett Lee gave Australia hope with two wickets in two balls, Australia v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup 2011, Colombo, March 19, 2011
Australia and Pakistan could ask the ICC for permission to play five T20s in a series © Getty Images
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Australia and Pakistan could ask the ICC for permission to stage the longest bilateral Twenty20 international series ever played later this year. The two countries are due to meet for a series of five ODIs and three T20s in August, but finding a suitable venue has proven difficult for Pakistan, especially given the extreme heat in the UAE at that time of year.

Malaysia is being considered as another potential venue but if the UAE is chosen, the major problem would be starting a 50-over contest in the blistering afternoon sunshine. A solution could be to abandon or reduce the ODI portion of the tour and expand the T20 schedule, which would allow games to start later at night and would also provide both sides with valuable extra preparation ahead of September's ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

The PCB is believed to have suggested a seven-match T20 series, which has been rejected by the ICC, but a five-game series could yet be proposed. The ICC has capped the amount of matches allowed in a bilateral T20 series at three, and while no international series of more games has ever been staged, national boards are permitted to put forward proposals for longer tours if there are special circumstances.

The ICC has already increased the number of T20s a country may play in a World Twenty20 year from 12 to 15, to allow better preparation for the tournament. But an individual series of more than three games would still need ICC approval, and Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland said it was a potential option for the PCB and Cricket Australia to explore for the August series.

"Pakistan have had some issues with determining a venue for the series," Sutherland said. "Part of that perhaps relates to weather issues and challenges with heat if it happens to be played in the UAE. It makes sense as a follow-up to that, if the matches are played there, in order to avoid the heat you reduce the number of one-day internationals you play, and you play Twenty20s [instead].

"We haven't had any formal discussions about that but at some stage it may well be that we need to talk to the ICC about that. There is good reason why the ICC has decided that only a limited number of Twenty20 matches can be played in one particular series. But in the first instance it's up to Pakistan to determine the format of the series that they think is going to work out. They need a venue first. It may well be we then put a formal proposition to the ICC that in exceptional circumstances it might be an option that they look favourably on."

The ICC's outgoing chief executive Haroon Lorgat, who was in Melbourne to present Sutherland and Cricket Australia with the ICC ODI shield, would not be drawn on the potential for a long T20 series between Australia and Pakistan. He said the ICC had already provided scope for countries to squeeze more T20s in this year, though not necessarily through longer series.

"In a World Twenty20 we have already agreed to extend the 12 maximum to 15," Lorgat said. "So in this particular year, any member can play 15 T20 internationals."

Australia have played only four T20s this year and their upcoming tour of England consists only of one-day internationals. Pakistan have so far played five T20s in 2012, and they have no more on their schedule besides the Australia series. Australia's T20 captain, George Bailey, said the more matches his side could play together the better, given the extensive changes to Australia's short-format side in the past year.

"It would certainly be nice to play a couple, if nothing else to settle a team and to really settle on a line-up," Bailey said. "I've got no doubt that whether they're scheduled or not, once we get over to Sri Lanka and prepare, the preparation will be fine."

Sri Lanka had originally been the likely venue for the Pakistan-Australia series but they withdrew their invitation to host the teams when it became apparent the Sri Lanka Premier League would take place at the same time. Intikhab Alam, the PCB's director for international operations, has travelled to Kuala Lumpur and the UAE in the past two weeks to assess potential venues for the series.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Potatis on (June 14, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

They can play as many T20's as they like, I won't be watching any of them.

Posted by Just_love_it on (June 14, 2012, 2:22 GMT)

WOW Y dont they invite 3rd team as well and make it like CB series ...15 league matches and then BEST OF 3 FINALES !!! .......GIVE US A BREAK ..5 T-20 SERIES !! EVEN 3 T-20 R SIMPLY TOO MANY....

Posted by   on (June 14, 2012, 2:08 GMT)

Please not another overdose of T20s. We have plenty of leagues for T20 enthusiasts. I agree with ICC's stance of restricting the number of T20s a team can play. It's the shortest format of the game that is digestable in short bursts. Please keep it that way. I'm still not convinced it should be part of bilateral series. Any ways, for this Pak-Aus series I would suggest 3 ODIs and 3 T20s. And even the ODIs can be started late (say around 4pm) to beat the heat.

Posted by Meety on (June 13, 2012, 23:55 GMT)

@jmcilhinney - true, but ASSUMING the ICC are smart enough to state that the series is allowed under the EXCEPTIONAL circumstance of Pakistan not being able to find a venue AND the series is almost on the eve of a T20 W/Cup, the precedent would come with many qualifiers. It may lead to scheduled T20 series in the month leading up to a T20 W/Cup, which I wouldn't think is a bad thing. @borhans - I agree, a short format tour with no Tests is pointless (IMO), however, if it is just prior to a Short Form W/Cup, I think it's OK.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (June 13, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

I'll be honest. In the ongoing Pak/SL series, I didn't pay attention to the T20 series, but was thoroughly engrossed in the ODI series. If this is ONLY a way to prepare for the upcoming T20 WC, then its fine. But if this is a sinister plot to extend all T20 Series to 5 games +, I am totally against it

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (June 13, 2012, 23:19 GMT)

Please tell me this is a joke.....

Posted by Mervo on (June 13, 2012, 21:41 GMT)

Why continue with this boring form of the game? There is already saturation.

Posted by   on (June 13, 2012, 20:20 GMT)

5 chances to see Hafeez get out in the first over.

Posted by Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed on (June 13, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

ODI's RULE.... T20s SUCK !!!!!

Posted by borhans on (June 13, 2012, 18:38 GMT)

Its a shame that one team will tour other country just for T20 .Why not pak ask for holding 5 T20 in 2 day tour .Yes that is possible cz T20 doesn't really need anything more than that .The way teams are going for T20 its like they don't want to do any extra work for test or odi .ICC should start arranging at least 2 T20 in a day cz wasting a whole day for a T20 is not something will do any good to cricket .

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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