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Windies domestic season to start early

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has decided to bring forward the start of the next domestic season to October to accommodate the Stanford 20/20 tournament. The season could also be extended to make up for the hectic regional and international schedule.

According to the WICB's draft itinerary the Carib Beer Series, West Indies' first-class competition, will start on October 8 and run simultaneously with the KFC Cup, the limited-overs tournament. The two competitions are expected to close by December and the Stanford 20/20 will be played in January-February 2008. Last season the Carib Beer Series and the KFC Cup were held in January-February.

In 2008 West Indies first tour South Africa in January and then play Sri Lanka and Australia at home. Tony Deyal, WICB corporate communications manager, said that the first-class championship was being reviewed as the board was concerned about players not playing enough first-class cricket. "We are looking at options and may have to split the season in two and extend the matches on a home and away basis," Deyal told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC). According to CMC Allen Stanford, the main backer of the Stanford 20/20 tournament, has reportedly offered the WICB up to US$121 million over 10 years for satellite rights for the tournament.