ICC World Twenty20 September 25, 2007

Speed plays down Twenty20 hype

Cricinfo staff

Malcolm Speed: 'We have a problem of fitting Twenty20 into the international calendar' © ICC
Despite the success of the World Twenty20, the ICC has insisted that it will not replace the 50-over format and that the limit of seven Twenty20 matches per Test-playing nation each year will still carry on despite its popularity.

"We are committed to the Champions Trophy in 2008 and 2010," Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive said. "We have a problem of fitting Twenty20 into the international calendar.

"What we have now is a new phenomenon to go along with 50-over cricket. We need to make sure we blend the two and the pie gets bigger rather than [it remaining] the same size, but is divided among the three forms of the game. Our priority will be to preserve Test cricket. We need to make sure that Test cricket remains strong and that is the iconic form of the game. And 50-over cricket is the financial driver of the game.

"It's one of the challenges we face to make sure the three forms of the game remain vibrant. It's a terrific problem."

With regard to the World Twenty20, Speed said that everyone was delighted at its success. "We thought it would be well received in South Africa, and the reception by the public, the media and the players has exceeded our expectations.

The Twenty20 version has, however, appealed to a wider fan-base and has been widely covered in both USA and China, according to Speed. "It's the perfect vehicle for cricket to develop in new countries. This gives us another opportunity, a different vehicle to go after those different markets. "Cricket is already a niche sport in the USA. There are lots of Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, West Indies playing cricket, so we can build on that. Twenty20 is a great opportunity to do that."

We're very pleased that we've had a very successful event

According to Speed, the success of Twenty20 and the shorter duration has already had an impact on the scheduling of the 2011 World Cup which, at this stage, is to last between 35 to 40 days. "I don't agree with much of the criticism about the last two World Cups," he said, "although some of it is valid. But in any event we're very pleased that we've had a very successful event."

The next Twenty20 tournament is to take place in England in 2009.