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Australia to look at Twenty20 proposal

Source - theage.com.au

Cricket Australia (CA) has left open the possibility of competing in a Twenty20 series for a $A23 million first prize next year in the West Indies.

The game's ruling body the International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to approve the winner-take-all tournament which is the brainchild of Texan billionaire Allen Stanford.

Stanford, who announced the tournament overnight in Antigua, is also hoping to include Sri Lanka, India and South Africa in the week-long event proposed for June 2008.

Stanford has dubbed the series "Twenty20 for 20 million (US dollars)".

But it is subject to approval from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), the ICC and television network ESPN, which has a broadcast agreement with the ICC.

Stanford admits he has more hurdles to clear.

"Working with the WICB has not been the most harmonious of relationships. There are some minor issues with the ICC," he said.

A CA spokesman said they would consider the proposal if an accommodation was reached between the WICB and the ICC to provide them with more details about the proposed tournament.

"Our operations manager Michael Brown was approached over a year ago about the possibility of a Twenty20 competition in the West Indies," the spokesman said.

"Our Future Tours Program must come first.

"Our FTP obligations require us to be in the West Indies for May next year for a Test and one-day series and we need to leave on June 30 for a Top End series against Bangladesh.

"Since a year ago, we haven't been re-approached (about the proposed tournament).

"We understand the ICC were talking to the West Indies board about this last week."

Under the proposal, the four countries would contest a knockout event with the winners facing the Stanford Super Stars, an all-West Indies XI comprising the best players from the inter-island Stanford Twenty20 Tournament, due to be staged in Antigua early next year.

Stanford has also announced he is giving West Indies cricket $US100 million ($A117 million) over three years with most of the funding going towards grassroots development.

His proposed $US5 million ($A6 million) match between the Stanford Super Stars and South Africa fell through last year after a dispute with the WICB.

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