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Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 15:37 UK

Bopara for radical Twenty20 plan

By Ben Dirs

Ravi Bopara
Bopara will play for Essex on the Twenty20 Cup finals day on 26 July

Essex and England all-rounder Ravi Bopara has backed a radical plan for an English Twenty20 tournament involving franchises rather than counties.

Keith Bradshaw, secretary of the MCC, and Surrey chairman David Stewart have hatched the lucrative 50m plan.

"I'm not really bothered about tradition because Twenty20 doesn't have a tradition," Bopara told BBC Sport.

"There shouldn't be 18 counties playing, it should be like the Indian Premier League, with franchises."

The Bradshaw-Stewart proposal is supported by Lancashire, Hampshire and Surrey.

The traditional counties would be replaced by nine city-based franchises, who would take part in a 57-match tournament.

The things in between Twenty20 and Test cricket might be threatened, like 50-over cricket

Ravi Bopara

Like the IPL, the new tournament would adopt a bidding process to attract the biggest stars of the international stage.

It is also suggested that each squad would consist of 12 home-grown players, of whom three must be under 23, with a salary cap of 1.5m.

It would be scheduled for each June and July from 2010 onwards, last for 25 days and would be a direct rival to the IPL, which staged its inaugural event earlier this year.

However, Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has scorned the proposal, saying that he is "not remotely interested in the reduction of counties".

Mike Soper, a former deputy chairman of the ECB has tabled an alternative plan for a competition involving all 18 county sides.

Soper envisages a two-division format, divided by the counties that play at Test match venues and those that do not.

Under Soper's proposal, the Pro40 league would be scrapped to make way for the new competition, and Bopara believes there is a chance that 50-over cricket may eventually be squeezed out by the 20-over format.

"I don't think Twenty20 cricket will threaten Test cricket because they are the two extremes of the game," said Bopara, who was appearing at the launch of StreetChance in West London, an initiative to help tackle youth crime in the capital.

"But the things in between might be threatened, things like 50-over cricket, because it's the easiest thing to let go of."

StreetChance is a partnership between Chance to shine, Barclays Spaces for Sports, Cricket for Change, the Metropolitan Police Service and Positive Futures. It uses Street 20 cricket to engage youngsters in areas of London affected by youth crime and anti-social behaviour.

see also
Rival Twenty20 proposal revealed
14 Jul 08 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
25 Jun 08 |  Cricket
Russell enraged by Twenty20 plans
11 Jul 08 |  Glamorgan
Sri Lanka put IPL above England
10 Jul 08 |  Sri Lanka
England stars eager for IPL cash
23 Jun 08 |  Cricket
England bag 50m Twenty20 bonanza
11 Jun 08 |  Cricket
But is it really cricket?
22 Apr 08 |  South Asia
England bosses soften IPL stance
16 Apr 08 |  Cricket
How will the IPL change cricket?
17 Apr 08 |  Cricket

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