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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 16:09 UK

MCC group urges calendar change

By Anna Thompson
BBC Sport at Lord's

Steve Waugh
Waugh says world cricket cannot ignore the Indian Premier League

An influential group of former Test players and umpires want the global calendar to change to allow all players to play in the Indian Premier League.

The MCC world cricket committee propose that cricket chiefs put aside two three-week periods a year for the IPL.

They believe a well-planned fixture list would allow Test, 50-over and Twenty20 cricket to co-exist.

Committee member Steve Waugh said: "The IPL is here to stay so cricket boards have got to find a place for it."

The former Australia captain told BBC Sport: "I appreciate it is difficult in England because they play in opposite seasons compared to the rest of the world but they will have to find a way because the England players are missing out."

The IPL began in April and features some of the best cricketers from around the world.

Reports have suggested the England and Wales Cricket Board is considering reducing county matches from four days to three to shorten the season, which would enable players to capitalise on the riches of the IPL without jeopardising their county and England careers.

Test cricket is still the extreme test of talent and skill but we have got to embrace Twenty20 cricket too

Tony Lewis
The world cricket committee, which comprises 18 former Test players and umpires, believes a properly thought-out calendar would also prevent players retiring prematurely from the international game because of the lure of higher wages in the IPL.

New Zealand start their first Test against England at Lord's on Thursday and they are noticeably missing former captain Stephen Fleming and all-rounder Scott Styris who opted to quit the national team in favour of making a nice retirement egg for themselves.

Tony Lewis, chairman of the committee, believes all players should have the opportunity to represent their country while being able to share in the benefits provided by the IPL - and not just monetary ones.

"I have been out to the IPL and the best batsmen are those who play orthodox strokes, albeit a bit more explosively, and the best bowlers are those who bowl a good line and length so I believe Twenty20 cricket is good for their technique.

"Test cricket is still the extreme test of talent and skill but we have got to embrace Twenty20 cricket too and we are calling for all member boards to work with the ICC on this."

Aussie Ahmed
The world cricket committee was formed three years ago and meets twice a year and includes former England captains Mike Brearley, Mike Atherton, Geoffrey Boycott, Alec Stewart and Mike Gatting as well as cricket legends Waugh, Martin Crowe, Shaun Pollock, and Courtney Walsh and aims to be an independent pressure group.

Lewis said: "We are independent, non-racial and non-commercial and care about cricket and cricketers."

Waugh added: "This is the only committee I'm on but want to make a difference and have a real impact and a voice on world cricketing matters."

see also
New Zealand reach IPL compromise
27 Mar 08 |  International Teams
Mascarenhas joins Indian league
11 Mar 08 |  Cricket
Twenty20 causes confusion
14 Mar 08 |  Cricket
Cricket's new order
29 Feb 08 |  Cricket
Pietersen rebuffs Indian offers
29 Feb 08 |  England

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