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2m to stop Twenty20 causing split

The England and Wales Cricket Board hopes to keep England's Test players financially happy with a sizeable increase in win bonus payments.

The move is a response to the huge sums being offered to play Twenty20 cricket.

The England one-day team could pick up around 250,000 each for winning a Twenty20 match organised by Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford.

Bonuses for a three-Test series had been 180,000 but 2m could be shared for winning four series over a year.

"The game has changed in terms of remuneration and opportunities for players beyond all recognition over the last nine months and I would argue for the better," ECB chairman Giles Clarke said.

"It must be right that our players can receive significant rewards if they are outstanding players and if they're successful, but it's a path we need to go down with care.

"We're going to need to ensure that if we have people who are pure Test specialists they are also rewarded and we're in the position to enhance the opportunities for our Test side."

Meanwhile, England's cricketers may have only a 10-day window to play in next year's Indian Premier League (IPL), according to ECB chief executive David Collier.

England's tour of the West Indies ends on 4 April, six days before the 2009 IPL starts on 10 April, but Zimbabwe are due to tour England in May.

"There's a possibility of players playing in the future," Collier told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek.

"But it doesn't look like the period will be longer than 10 days."

English representation in this year's event was limited to just Hampshire's Dimitri Mascarenhas, but several players have declared their interest.

The likes of Kevin Pietersen, who could potentially earn about 2m if he competes in the event, and Andrew Flintoff, would be welcome additions in India.

"I think it's common knowledge that the IPL would like more of our players to play," England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Collier said.

"The question is: which tournaments takes priority at which time of the year? What it does look like is that we will finish our tour to the West Indies and there'll be a 10-day period prior to the players reporting to the first Test match in England.

"Clearly that will be something (England head coach) Peter Moores will be looking at, that period of the year to see whether players can play and whether that is a window that will be attractive to the players and to other people in the IPL, or other competitions."

Zimbabwe are nominally scheduled to play two Tests and three one-day internationals in England in May, although have not played any Tests since September 2005.

England also hosts the ICC World Twenty20 in June.

This year's inaugural IPL clashed with the start of the new county campaign, as well as New Zealand's tour of England.

However, the early finish to next year's tour of the Caribbean means there could be an opportunity for more players to sign for Indian teams.

Meanwhile, Collier added that talks with Stanford over a winner-takes-all Twenty20 competition were "on track".

The deal is believed to include five winner-takes-all Twenty20 matches between England and a West Indies All-Star side in Antigua - the winner receiving $20m (10m) - and an annual international quadrangular tournament in England.

Collier said: "That's highly likely to still proceed. We're hoping to be in a position to make an announcement regarding that within the next week to 10 days.

"Certainly all the talks are very much on track and we hope to make an announcement in the future."

source - bbc.co.uk
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