Twenty20 World Cup in the pipeline
Twenty20 cricket is set to become an official part of the ICC international calendar from 2007 onwards - and England could be named as hosts of the inaugural world championship in 2009 - after a deal was struck on the second day of the ICC executive board meeting in Dubai.
There had been much scope for disagreement before the meeting, with the powerful Indian board especially sceptical about a form of the game that has drawn massive crowds across the globe since its inception in 2003.
But with India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh keen to make a belated submission to host the fifty-over World Cup in 2011, the opportunity arose for a compromise to be reached. As a result, the Asian bloc have been given until April 21 to make their hosting submission for 2011, and England in the meantime have set their sights on hosting the first mandatory Twenty20 tournament in 2009.
"There was potential for an impasse on these two issues with several of our members holding strong views," admitted Ehsan Mani, ICC's president, "but this approach has allowed us to map out a way forward on these important topics to try and reach consensus. The programme of ICC events from 2007 to 2015 will now be considered again in April."
The deals were put forward as the ICC thrashed out its package of events for 2007 to 2015. Under the new arrangement, there will be a major event every year, with a shorter eight-nation Champions Trophy set to take place on a biennial basis from 2008.
An invitational twenty-over tournament has been pencilled in for next year but, as a demonstration of their willingness to host the Twenty20 tournament, and to win over the Asian bloc, England have proposed to withdraw their application to stage the 2015 World Cup, and will instead bid for 2019. Australasia and Asia are now the two regions in the reckoning for the forthcoming World Cups in 2011 and 2015.