ICC formalises guidelines for IPL
The ICC executive board has formalised its stand on the Indian Premier League (IPL), saying international cricket was its top priority and laying out guidelines to ensure it stayed that way. It also emerged from the meeting, in Dubai, that the ICC's Future Tours Programme will not be altered to suit the IPL as neither the league nor the Indian board, which runs it, made such a request.
Amid increasing uncertainty over the sanctity of the traditional format of the game, the ICC said 'nation-versus-nation' cricket will remain at the top of the pyramid and bilateral commitments between the boards will take precedence over IPL fixtures.
To underscore that the BCCI will, on behalf of the IPL, sign a standard-form contract with all ICC Members giving countries absolute discretion to lodge an objection to a player - anytime up to two years' of the player's retirement - from its country playing in the IPL. "This will be respected by the IPL, with the player in question not selected by his franchise," David Morgan, the ICC's president-elect, said.
The IPL, which begins on April 18, is a domestic Twenty20 competition in the sense that all teams - called franchises - are based in Indian cities and all matches will be played in India. However, much of its appeal lies in the fact that these franchises have signed up the world's leading players on contracts worth up to US$1.5 million a year.
This has sparked fears that players would prefer to play for the more lucrative IPL over their countries. New Zealand and West Indies are the major nations at particular risk of losing star names because they cannot come close to competing financially with the IPL.
It was also agreed that the IPL will introduce its own code of conduct regulations, draft an anti-corruption code and have an anti-doping policy in compliance with ICC regulations.
Zimbabwe Cricket's audit
The ICC board reviewed a report of the ICC audit committee, which looked at the findings of the forensic report of Zimbabwe Cricket's 2005-06 accounts conducted by KPMG South Africa. While saying the report "highlighted serious financial irregularities,", it agreed with the audit committee's assessment that the KPMG report had "found no evidence of criminality and that no individuals had gained financially."
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Cricket said that it had "taken substantial remedial action to correct these irregularities and would continue to do so."
Player referrals to be tested
In a significant development, the board has decided to trial player referrals, in which on-field decisions will be reviewed by the TV umpire once a player makes such a request. If the ECB and Cricket South Africa agree, the trial will be conducted during the Test series between England and South Africa later this year.
2011 World Cup
The 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent will feature 14 teams, two less than the number in the 2007 World Cup. Though the detailed schedule of the tournament has not yet been drawn, the board said the event "will be held over a significantly shorter period than the previous one." While the ten Full Member nations automatically book their place in the event, the remaining four places will go to the semi-finalists of the World Cup qualifiers, to be held in Dubai in 2009.
2008 Champions Trophy
The 2008 Champions Trophy, scheduled to be held in Pakistan from September 11 to 28, will go ahead as planned. A final decision will be taken after an independent security assessment of the situation in Pakistan, which will be conducted in June.