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Buchanan embraces Twenty20

Former Australian coach John Buchanan believes Allen Stamford's mooted Twenty20 bash in the West Indies next year could be the greatest revolution in the game since Kerry Packer's introduction of one-day cricket.

Another breakaway Twenty20 event, the Indian Cricket League's tournament in October, will not feature any current Australian Test or Pura Cup players, and Buchanan said billionaire Stamford's $23 million series next year, for which he plans to target the game's current superstars, was a more serious development.

Packer's World Series Cricket made its mark because he targeted the best players of the day, and Stamford is trying to do likewise.

"The ICL is a fantastic concept but from the bigger point of view, I think Stamford is making the real moves," Buchanan said.

"The stumbling block for him is getting the backing of the West Indies board.

"It's a throwback to the Packer era. I understand he's trying to get the backing of the West Indies board and from there, he might be able to get the backing of the ICC. If that happens, you could have a whole new development in the game with these international tournaments.

"Twenty20 shouldn't take over from 50-overs cricket and Tests will always be the pinnacle, but we'd be silly to get in the road of Twenty20. I think it's here to stay and we should embrace that."

Cricket Australia is unfazed by any perceived threat from the ICL because state and nationally contracted players cannot take part in non-ICC events.

For that reason, the tournament being run by former Australian batsman Dean Jones is likely to involve only former players such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Greg Blewett, and unknown youngsters yet to make their state squads.

"I'm not sure what these 18- or 19-year-olds who aren't state contracted will learn from Twenty20 cricket," Ponting said.

"I read where Deano said it will help these guys out. It won't help them out; it will help Dean out. It will help the people running the event.

"I can't see how these young kids playing Twenty20 cricket will do much in giving them an upbringing in learning much about the game."

Ponting said the biggest threat from the ICL, which is throwing six-figure sums at Warne, McGrath and Brian Lara, could be if the amounts of money on offer were enough to tempt ageing players to retire before they otherwise might.

"It's only a concern if there is huge money involved in it," Ponting said.

"The other thing being talked about is this (Allen) Stamford guy in the West Indies.

"The $23 million he's said to be offering is a concern because the way I look at it is people getting towards the end of their international career will look at it and think, 'If I'm guaranteed that, this kind of money might be a good thing.'"

source - theage.com.au
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