Twenty20 internationals restricted to seven per year


London : No country will be able to play more than seven Twenty20 internationals, the immensely popular version of cricket, in a year, the game's world governing body announced here Friday.

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) took this decision at its annual meeting here, following complaints that too much international matches were being played these days.

The recommendation to check the increasingly packed international calendar came from ICC's own cricket committee headed by former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, ICC said in a statement here.

The statement said that the ICC board noted the views of the ICC cricket committee in relation to this matter and directed ICC management to produce a draft international programme which should:

* be fair and equitable to all sides requiring all Full Members to play each other once at home and once away over the life cycle of the Future Tours Program (FTP)

* introduce a limit to the numbers of Test matches, one-day internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 matches sides may play in any one series

* provide for two "icon" series, between Australia and England and India and Pakistan to take place every two years

* restrict to a maximum of seven the number of Twenty20 internationals that any international side can play in a year (excluding ICC events/tournaments)

* Any additional matches or series scheduled would be considered to fall outside the FTP and must have no impact on it in order to be confirmed

"Once produced, the draft program will then be reviewed by the ICC board, although possible implementation, if appropriate, may be delayed due to members' existing commercial arrangements," ICC said.

It also said that there was general agreement that future World Cups should not exceed five weeks in duration. The next World Cup, in 2011, will be held in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"The format of future World Cups will be debated at the next meeting of the ICC board, scheduled for late October in Dubai."

Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket following its suspension for poor administration and corruption charges against Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has been further delayed.

"It was agreed it would report back when it felt it was ready to step up so that the ICC Board could make a decision on the matter. In relation to allegations of financial irregularities levelled against ZC, it was agreed there would be an independent audit of ZC's accounts by an internationally recognised firm," it said.

Further to a recommendation by the ICC cricket committee, it was agreed that this task force be formed with a view to enhancing the already high standards of officiating.