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Page last updated at 23:23 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Smith wary of Twenty20 dominance

The Delhi Daredevils
The teams in the IPL paid huge sums to secure the top players

Former England batsman Ed Smith has urged cricket chiefs not to be overawed by the lucrative Indian Premier League.

"There is an issue with power in the world game," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"There's no doubt Twenty20 has already done good things, spreading the word about cricket is fantastic, and I want people to come into our game," he said.

"Cricket is crying out for long-term leadership but mustn't cash in for a short-term and risk damaging the brand, which is playing for your country."

The England and Wales Cricket Board could face difficult decisions in the near future, with prized assets including Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff likely to be tempted by the prospect of substantial riches in the IPL.

To complicate matters further, England are the only major nation who regularly play when the IPL takes place in April and May.

"Cricket has a fantastic, special quality, there's an association about cricket that makes it more than just a game, particularly in England," Smith said.

"It's so tied up with our national identity, some myths some true about the way to live, the way you play, that type of thing, so there's a huge complexity about whether players should be able to earn this kind of money and maybe miss out on a few England games.

"It would be very difficult if England players do not have the opportunity to play in IPL.

"It's not the ECB's problem exclusively, it's a world cricket issue. It's very easy to knock the ECB all the time but they are responding to things they are not in control of.

"Ultimately, are the administrators at International Cricket Council level making the right decisions to make cricket a successful and balanced game around the world?

"All of us should hope the decisions made are for the good of the game and people coming into the game. We want some IPL, definitely, at the right time, with enough space for Test cricket and one-day cricket."

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see also
No agreement on England IPL deal
16 Nov 08 |  England
Stanford backs IPL participation
27 Oct 08 |  Cricket
No new cricket deal for Vodafone
16 Dec 08 |  Business

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