ICL: Indian Cricket League

ECB made contingency plans for the twenty20

Written by Kashif Aziz on August 25th, 2006   (327 views)

While Pakistani players have agreed to play the twenty20 and ODI series, the ECB has made contingency plans to play against an International XI should Pakistan pull out of Monday’s Twenty20 International at Bristol. It is also in discussions with a major nation, believed to be South Africa, with a view to replacing Pakistan for the NatWest Series if the need arises.

Pakistan threatened to boycott the remainder of their tour if Inzamam-ul-Haq was banned as a result of charges of ball-tampering and bringing cricket into disrepute following their forfeiture of the fourth and final Test against England at The Oval on Sunday. A date for Inzamam’s hearing will be announced on Friday - the original day it was going to be held - and Pakistan have expressed concerns about playing again before the hearing is complete.

An ECB statement said: “Shaharyar Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board, has in meetings held with David Morgan, the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, reconfirmed his board’s strong desire for Pakistan to continue with the International Twenty20 fixture at Bristol on Monday, August 28 and the subsequent NatWest Series and believes this will be the case.

“However the PCB chairman communicated to David Morgan that until a new date can be set for the ICC’s Code of Conduct commission hearing, concerns of the Pakistan touring party have not been fully allayed.”

The ICC has already indicated that no date can be set until the its chief match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, is again available to preside over the hearing. Madugalle is unavailable because of family illness and at the moment he is unable to commit to any set date. An ICC source made it clear that no other referee would be acceptable to all parties.

Facing a huge financial loss if the Twenty20 and one-day internationals were cancelled, the ECB put into motion plans to fill the gap with an International XI for the Twenty20. The move as been approved by the ICC and the ECB have approached leading world players to form a team that would play England in the event of Pakistan pulling out.

Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan have agreed to bring their Pro40 match forward by one day to Sunday, therefore releasing more players - including Stephen Fleming - for the International XI.

The ECB chief executive David Collier said: “We are pleased that discussions strongly indicate the England v Pakistan Twenty20 international and the subsequent NatWest Series will proceed as planned. However given the current uncertainty concerning the scheduling of the Code of Conduct hearing and imminence of the Twenty20 it is prudent to examine all options to provide spectators with guaranteed play on Monday.

“This has been achieved and while ECB and PCB hope that this contingency plan will not be required, the International XI remains on standby.

“ECB can also confirm that it has been in discussion with ICC and other full member boards to provide a further contingency plan for the NatWest Series. These discussions are well advanced, but it is hoped that the Pakistan team will be able to fulfil its commitments.”

South Africa would be the favourites to step into Pakistan’s shoes for the Natwest Series. Their coach, Mickey Arthur, has already said his team would be delighted to fill the gap after they abandoned their recent tour of Sri Lanka following the bombings in Colombo.

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