Thursday, August 7, 2008

ICC re-thinking its rules on Twenty20 leagues - Lorgat

Haroon Lorgat: "We are now exploring whether we should have the championship in two venues - Karachi and Lahore".

The ICC has set up a committee to look at increasing its relevance in the proliferation of Twenty20 leagues and its role in managing such tournaments, Haroon Lorgat, its chief executive.It may even change existing rules to prevent its marginalisation, as national boards plan their own tournaments and collaborative ventures.

"The landscape has changed very quickly and we now need to re-look the regulations that were developed some years back," Lorgat said in an exclusive interview in Mumbai. "The Twenty20 concept really blossomed after the World Twenty20 in South Africa last year with other high-profile events following. The ICC has recognised that and put together this group to have a re-look at our regulations."

Lorgat agreed with Mahela Jayawardene's views that the number of Twenty20 tournaments needs to be controlled as it may adversely affect the Future Tours Program (FTP). "He (Jayawardene) is asking us as administrators to manage the amount of Twenty20 tournaments we put together. Everybody has recognised that it is such an attraction at the moment and we are beginning to say let's just be careful how much of a dosage we send out.

"Because it would impact on the FTP: there are only 12 months in the year or 52 weeks in the year... We have to be responsible in the way that we manage and allocate the number of Twenty20 games in relation to the amount of FTP and we've got to find the right balance."

The other immediate issue the ICC faces is the staging of next month's Champions Trophy in Pakistan; several teams have expressed security concerns and Lorgat said one way of tackling that could be to strike off Rawalpindi as a venue for the tournament. "One of the points we are mindful of that came out of previous visits by the security consultants was that there were no Asia Cup games held at Rawalpindi. As a result they were not able to assess or monitor any of the security requirements. Bearing that in mind we are now exploring whether it would enhance security and whether it would remove perceptions being created around security for the whole tournament because Rawalpindi was not part of the Asia Cup.

"We are now exploring whether we should have the championship in two venues - Karachi and Lahore - and we might make a decision to go in that direction," he said. "Our objective is to remove the discomfort or perceptions that any of the member countries or players may have." Players from Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa had earlier expressed reservations over the security situation in Pakistan.

An ICC-appointed task force is overseeing the security situation in Pakistan ahead of the Champions Trophy and will carry out its inspection on August 10 and 11. The tournament, featuring the top eight ODI teams, will be held from September 11-28.