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ECB given World Cup green light


The International Cricket Council have given the England and Wales Cricket Board the go-ahead to host next summer's World Twenty20 championships, despite the ongoing issues regarding Zimbabwe.

Next month's ICC annual conference has already been moved from Lord's to Dubai, for the first time in its 99-year history, because Zimbabwe's delegate, Peter Chingoka, was refused a visa when he tried to enter the UK last year.

However, an ICC source told the Daily Telegraph: "The two situations are quite different. It's obviously an issue when one of the 10 full members can't be represented at an executive board meeting. But I don't think there's any great concern about the possibility of one administrator being absent from an international competition."

The ICC are also well aware that the tournament will realise far more revenue in England than it would in Canada, the back-up venue.

The ECB plan to stage double-headers at the tournament: a women's Twenty20 international, followed by the main match between the men's teams.

A similar blueprint could be used in the county game by 2010, if plans to split the Pro40 into two 20-over games - or even one match with two 20-over innings per side - are put into action.

The structure of the 2010 county season is due to be discussed at Thursday's executive board meeting of the ECB. The counties want to expand the Twenty20 Cup, which they feel has been downplayed in this country, while being more dynamically exploited by the Indian Premier League.

The challenge is to find a way of slimming down the County Championship to around 12 games per season. One option would be to set up three regional conferences with play-offs at the end of the season. Three divisions, with promotion and relegation, would be more competitive, but, as Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes said yesterday, "there's no way the smaller counties would vote for it".

Jack Simmons, the ECB chairman of cricket, has also suggested a return to three-day championship cricket.

The ECB say that no decisions will be taken at Thursday's meeting as they are awaiting the results of further market research.

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