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India joins the Twenty20 Revolution

Source - hindu.com

Clearly not enthused by cricket's slam-bang format, India will join 11 other teams as a reluctant participant when South Africa hosts the inaugural ICC Twenty20 World Championship in September 2007.

BCCI President Sharad Pawar, while signing the host agreement of the Champions Trophy in New Delhi, had told reporters that BCCI had reservations with this truncated format of the game but he was quick to add that the Board would go by the ICC decision.

An ICC release here announced that 12 teams, including 10 Full Members, would feature in the nine-day ICC Twenty20 World Championship and they have confirmed their participation at the ICC Board meeting here yesterday.

"The members of the ICC Board have embraced Twenty20 cricket while at the same time managing its growth," said ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed.

"South Africa has been an early-adopter of Twenty20 cricket and will be an excellent first venue for the ICC Twenty20 World Championship."

"The legacy of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 means that South Africa already has in place exceptional facilities and expertise and we are very confident that the United Cricket Board of South Africa will host a tremendous event," he added.

"This short and sharp event will provide a global focus for the new format without having a negative impact on the international cricket calendar," he elaborated.

United Cricket Board of South Africa Chairman Ray Mali thanked the ICC for awarding the event to South Africa.

"Twenty20 cricket has captured the imagination of the South African people over the last two seasons and we are delighted to have been asked by the ICC to host this first international event."

"This is a great opportunity for South African cricket and we intend to grasp it with both hands by delivering an unforgettable experience to players and supporters in our country and around the world," Mr Mali said.

Meanwhile, it was also announced that the second ICC Twenty20 World Championship will take place in England in June 2009.

"The England and Wales Cricket Board should be very pleased with the outcome of these negotiations," said ICC President Ehsan Mani.

"They produced an excellent submission to host both the ICC Cricket World Cup and the Twenty20 World Championship and they have earned the right to host both events."

"A lot of credit must go to David Morgan for the astute manner in which he handled some very complex discussions. England and Wales will be a fitting venue for the ICC Twenty20 World Championship at the climax of our centenary year in 2009," he said.

David Morgan, Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board said that event would be the centrepiece of the summer calendar.

"Twenty20 cricket finds its roots in England and Wales so I think it is fitting that we will host this World Championship. We have a wonderful opportunity to build our international calendar around this showpiece occasion and we will make sure that it takes place in June in the heart of our cricket season."

"The full support of the ICC Board for the staging of an important event in England is a clear indication of the prominent place that the ECB continues to hold in international cricket," he added.

The frequency of the ICC Twenty20 World Championship beyond 2009 will be determined once an evaluation of the initial events has been undertaken, the release said.

The ICC Executive Board has also put controls on the format's expansion by limiting sides to a maximum of three home matches per season.

The decisions taken in the meeting are subject to ratification at the ICC's Annual Conference in London in July.

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