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CA suggests four-year cycle formula to save Test cricket

Melbourne, July 1 : A proposal has been presented to the International Cricket Council to radically overhaul world cricket's ad hoc and often irrelevant programming, with possible finals every four years between the best Test, one-day and Twenty20 nations.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland is a strong promoter of the plan, which was discussed at the ICC's meeting of Test nation chief executives over the past two days and is likely to be considered by the ICC's executive board at its two-day meeting beginning tomorrow.

Enthusiastically supported by Australia, the plan would offer greater context and meaning to often stale and poorly supported series in the face of the rising threat of the billion-dollar Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition.

However, the proposal does not offer a window for the IPL despite claims from senior players, including Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting, and player associations, that without a gap for the tournament the next generation may abandon traditional forms of the game for the super-rich competition.

In its purest form the new schedule would have each of the nine active Test nations playing each other over two years, with two home and two away series each year consisting of three Tests, five one-day matches and a Twenty20 game.

If fully implemented there would be semi-finals in all three formats among the top four sides during the third year of the cycle followed by home and away finals in the last year, The Australian reported.

Room would remain in the programme for ICC events each year such as the World Cup, Champions Trophy and World Twenty20.

However, uncertainty remains over how Australia would fit in its traditional five-Test series against England and four-Test series against India.

Despite this, CA spokesman Peter Young insisted that if there was any change to the ICC schedule once the current future tours programme ends in 2012, so-called "icon" series would continue to be protected.

Australian-born Indian Rohan Sajdeh has created the radical new programming concept.

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Story first published: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 12:18 [IST]
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