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ICC aim to protect Tests from Twenty20 threat

Test matches must remain the "pinnacle" of international cricket, members of the world governing body are recommending.

A meeting of the International Cricket Council's cricket committee has, over the past two days, noted the need to effectively manage a new "landscape" in the sport.

Three forms of cricket - Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20 - currently co-exist, with the latter clearly a coming force.

The advent of huge amounts of money available to players in the Indian Premier League has begun to put pressure on the ICC to nominate a window in the calendar for such a competition.

That, however, is not in the remit of the cricket committee, who are empowered to make recommendations to the chief executives' committee, which will meet along with the ICC board from June 29.

Among the recommendations which will be put forward for approval as policy then is "a strong need to identify and maintain a balance between the three formats so that all of them could continue to thrive".

Tuesday's ICC statement added that the cricket committee believes certain steps can help safeguard the pre-eminence of Test matches.

"It identified Test cricket as the pinnacle of the sport and expressed the need for the best available participants (players, umpires, referees etc) to be involved in international cricket," the statement reads.

"While accepting the need for a minimum requirement in terms of numbers of ODIs, Twenty20 Internationals and Tests between all teams, the committee stressed the need to protect 'icon' series."

Ashes contests and the like are therefore sure to continue to be protected - and it seems a regular world championship head-to-head may be in the offing.

"The committee also recommended that further thought be given to the introduction of a Test league or periodic play-off for the top two sides in the Reliance Mobile Test Championship table," the report adds.

The cricket committee also considered the proposed trialling of an umpire referral system and recommended that it go ahead during an as yet unspecified series this year.

It is intended the system will allow line decisions to continue to be referred by on-field umpires to the third official.

But teams should also be given the opportunity to ask the umpires to consult the TV official on any other decision, with a maximum three unsuccessful appeals permitted per innings.

Hawk-eye technology should be available to the third umpire only to determine the travelled path of the ball, not - for lbw purposes - to project what might have happened next had it not hit the batsman.

Other recommendations included an innovation in ODI 'powerplays', by which the batting side should be allowed to choose one of the five-over segments of fielding restrictions.

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