India plans Twenty20 competition
The Indian cricket board yesterday dropped its opposition to the game’s Twenty-20 version, deciding to participate in the inaugural World Cup in South Africa next year.
“We were out-voted 10-1 in the (recent) ICC meeting in London,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Niranjan Shah told reporters after a meeting of the board.
The BCCI would also introduce the Twenty20 format at domestic level in the build-up to the World Cup in South Africa in September 2007.
“The BCCI did not find support at the ICC meeting and having accepted it, we didn’t want to be reluctant participants,” board treasurer N.Srinivasan said. The India and Pakistan boards jointly opposed the plan announced in February by the International Cricket Council (ICC), concerned that the new format could diminish interest in the commercially lucrative 50-overs version.
However, Pakistan subsequently introduced Twenty20 into its domestic circuit and backed the event.
India captain Rahul Dravid has also backed the format which is already hugely popular, particularly with young fans, in England.
The board also decided to take urgent steps to raise the standard of Indian umpires, none of whom currently find a place in the ICC’s elite panel for tests.
“We will give them training and also improve the quality of judging the umpires,” Srinivasan said. Two top software companies would videotape and help analyse umpiring decisions in Ranji Trophy matches from next season.
The board also decided to set up a museum at its Mumbai headquarters.
Meanwhile, India’s cricket chiefs are negotiating with Microsoft for new software aimed at raising umpiring standards in the country, an official said yesterday.
The software giant will be entrusted with the task of developing a program to evaluate the performance of umpires in every domestic match, Indian cricket board vice-president Lalit Modi said.
“We zeroed in on Microsoft after looking at several technological solutions,” said Modi. “The deal is not finalised yet, but we are in the final stages of negotiations.”
Officials have been stung by criticism from the International Cricket Council (ICC) that Indian umpires were not up to international standards.
No Indian has figured in the ICC’s elite panel of umpires that supervises Test cricket around the world since former captain Srinivas Venkataraghvan retired in 2003.
The Indian board will record all domestic matches with six cameras and the footage will be analysed by the software to be developed by Microsoft, Modi said.
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