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Trio of nations plan IPL spin off

Some of cricket's biggest names could soon be swinging the bat in a new tri-nations Twenty20 cricket competition.

And international stars will be encouraged to join Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition in the interim in a bid to bolster support for the concept.

Australian, New Zealand and South African cricketing bodies will work together to establish a competition similar to the hugely popular Indian Premier League launched this year.

It is planned to kick off by 2011.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the concept had been developed during the past year and would be built on city-based, franchised-owned teams.

He said the number of teams in the competition was not yet determined but they would be split between an African-based eastern conference and an Australasian-centred western conference.

"Regional level Twenty20 cricket played at the level immediately below international cricket has shown it can capture the public imagination and create new audiences for cricket," Mr Sutherland said.

"But as we have seen in India, it needs critical mass to generate major public excitement and the regional concept we have been charged with developing provides that critical mass."

He said the competition would be timed so as not to clash with the IPL, allowing Indian players to participate.

Mr Sutherland said the concept had the support of the Australian Cricketers' Association and Cricket Australia would continue to work closely with them.

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