World Cup in South Africa the focus May 15, 2007

India plan premier domestic Twenty20 tournament

The board has planned more domestic Twenty20 for India's top cricketers © Getty Images

A domestic Twenty20 tournament will be held before India's tour of England, Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of the selection committee, said in Dhaka.

The domestic series would offer the selectors a chance to see which players are best suited for the shortened format and thus help them choose the team for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa starting on September 11.

The competition begins just three days after India's seven-match one-day series against England - the final game is slated to be held on September 8 - and the players of the one-day side who are retained for Twenty20 will fly to South Africa directly from England.

The domestic series is set to be similar to the Challenger Series, India's premier one-day competition. However, the composition of the sides will not be as skewed as it normally is for the Challengers, where India Seniors is normally the strongest side with India A and India B relatively weaker. Here the teams of 13 each will be more evenly matched.

India's cricketers haven't had too much exposure to Twenty20 cricket. The national team has been involved in just one Twenty20 International, against South Africa at Johannesburg in December 2006. India was also the last country to adopt Twenty20 cricket at the domestic level, with the inaugural series this year, but going by the lukewarm response, it didn't appear to have too many takers.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer with Cricinfo Magazine