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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Speed reins in hype over Twenty20
By Oliver Brett

India celebrate victory in the World Twenty20 final
The reception by the public, the media and the players has exceeded our expectations

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed on the World Twenty20

The meteoric success of the first World Twenty20 will not lead to fewer 50-overs-a-side matches, insists the International Cricket Council.

There have been calls to drop the Champions Trophy event following the successful debut of the shorter format and India's eventual victory.

But ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed told BBC Sport: "We are committed to the Champions Trophy in 2008 and 2010.

"We have a problem of fitting Twenty20 into the international calendar."

There will be another ICC World Twenty20 in England in 2009.

But Speed claimed 50-over internationals - such as the four-yearly World Cup, the Champions Trophy and most limited-overs series between member nations - would not diminish in importance.

BBC Sport's editor Mihir Bose

He said: "Everyone is very pleased with the success of the [Twenty20] tournament.

"We thought it would be well received in South Africa, and the reception by the public, the media and the players has exceeded our expectations.

"I don't agree with much of the criticism about the last two World Cups, although some of it is valid.

"But in any event we're very pleased that we've had a very successful event."

The World Cup in the Caribbean earlier in 2007 was criticised for having draconian regulations for spectators and half-empty grounds due to high ticket prices.

At the World Twenty20, tickets were cheap, grounds were full, and the fans were allowed to bring in huge flags - which created a spectacular atmosphere for the final between India and Pakistan.

The ICC World Twenty20 was a predictable hit with the fans
The ICC World Twenty20 was a predictable hit with the fans

"There were an amazing number of flags," said Speed.

"We try to learn from previous events; the fans seem to want to bring their flags in, and express their patriotism for their country so it was great to see that."

He acknowledged that the ICC faced a challenge to fit a third format of the game into a calendar already packed with Tests and 50-over internationals.

But he confirmed that the next World Cup would be much shorter, down to five weeks from seven.

In addition, the 2008 Champions Trophy would be completed in just over two weeks.

"We are committed to the Champions Trophy," Speed insisted.

"It will be an eight-team event, with two groups of four - a short, sharp tournament with the best teams playing in Pakistan next year in September. I think that will be a great event.

"It's a terrific problem to have, now we have three forms of the game.

"As cricket administrators we are very committed to Test cricket, the primary form of the game - it's important we preserve and maintain that.

Olympic sport?

"Fifty-over one-day cricket has proved to be very popular - we have just seen in England a seven-match series with sell-outs in every venue.

"So far the policy is that we have limited the number of international Twenty20 matches each team can play - three home matches and four away matches in a year.

2008: Champions Trophy, Pakistan (50 overs per side)
2009: World Twenty20, England
2010: Champions Trophy, West Indies
2011: World Cup, South Asia
2012-14: Two Champions Trophy and one Twenty20, or vice versa

"We'll review that but at this stage we are very comfortable with that formula."

Speed did concede that if cricket ever became an Olympic sport, Twenty20 would be the best format.

But his view that the Champions Trophy will continue, albeit in a shortened format, may well still disappoint many observers of the game.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said on Monday: "I don't see how they can seriously consider running three global tournaments in a four-year cycle.

"Something has to go and hopefully the Champions Trophy will get cut."


But the ICC was roundly applauded for its handling of the World Twenty20.

The Independent's cricket correspondent, Stephen Brenkley, said on Test Match Special: "I would go so far as to say it's world cricket reborn, and most importantly the players have embraced it as well."



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