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Twenty20 gets serious for Australian skipper

Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, for the first time has conceded he underestimated the impact Twenty20 would have on international cricket.

Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, for the first time has conceded he underestimated the impact Twenty20 would have on international cricket.

Speaking before Wanderers officials posted the "full house" sign outside the ground for the Twenty20 match between Australia and South Africa held overnight (Melbourne time), Ponting said the Australians would have to begin viewing the abbreviated form of the game more seriously, with the International Cricket Council keen to establish a Twenty20 World Cup.

The ICC will decide on the concept at a board meeting in Dubai next month. The tournament is expected to last only nine days and involve 10 teams. Seven nations are rumoured to have expressed interest in hosting the event.

It has been, without doubt, a meteoric rise for a mode of the game developed by a marketing team in England to address declining county attendances.

Ponting has long held believed that 20-over cricket is best used at domestic level, for which it was conceived, and in short bursts internationally, generally to begin a tour. And despite retaining that belief, Ponting admitted he may have to reconsider his approach to Twenty20 cricket.

"My position hasn't changed, but it might have to change a little bit as we go on," Ponting said.

"If we're going to be playing more and more of it, we're going to have to look at starting to take the game a bit more seriously than we probably have so far.

"The way we've looked at it and the way that it has been used in the games we've played, where it's been used to promote the series, I think it's been used well that way. But now with this world championship on, we're going to have to look at it.

"If we play it more internationally, will it fade? I'm not sure. But everything so far would seem to indicate that it's going to be pretty strong. Even the game we played in Australia, they had a full house in Brisbane 40,000-odd people.

"I still think that might be because of the novelty factor; people want to go and have a look at it first time around. But the flipside of that is that everyone we spoke to that was there that night had a great day. Maybe there is a long-term future for it. We'll have to wait and see."

As with Ponting, South African captain Graeme Smith believes Twenty20 should be played only for international tour openers and at domestic level.

But while Ponting seems ready to accept, albeit begrudgingly, that the 20-over game will command a more prominent position on the international calendar, Smith does not hold such a conciliatory view.

"To make it a part of the international schedule, I think, would be a mistake," Smith said. "The ICC need to think long and hard at that before they make a decision (on staging a Twenty20 World Cup)."

Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was unavailable for the Twenty20 encounter because of a left hip flexor strain. Salve helices pariah inure paleoserology evangelistic?
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source - theage.com.au

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