English Twenty20 plans announced

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The Independent Online

There will be an English Premier League Twenty20 competition starting in 2010.

Having rejected a leaked proposal that would have left out half the country's 18 counties, the England and Wales Cricket Board said Wednesday that it would start a two-division tournament containing all the sides plus two overseas teams.

The ECB also plans to scrap its largely unloved Pro40 tournament in 2009, allowing for a total overhaul of club cricket in England.

The 40-over tournament will be replaced by a separate Twenty20 league involving the 18 counties, with matches played mostly on Friday nights in July and August.

The 2010 season in England will also include a 50-over one-day tournament alongside the traditional county championship, but most of the excitement is bound to center on the EPL.

There will be an overseas team in each 10-team league in the EPL, which was proposed on Tuesday during an ECB board meeting just months after the enormously successful debut of the Indian Premier League.

The EPL would replace the current Twenty20 tournament played in England, which is increasingly popular. The top teams from each division would progress to quarterfinals and a knockout format.

"I am delighted that the board unanimously supported these creative proposals," ECB chairman Giles Clarke said. "We have already received enormous broadcast and sponsor interest from around the world."

Clarke told Sky TV there was unlikely to be an IPL-style auction, saying that aspects of the IPL were "uniquely Indian."

The proposal was adopted over plans for a multimillion pound Twenty20 league drawn up by Keith Bradshaw, the secretary and chief executive of the Marylebone Cricket Club, and Surrey chairman David Stewart.

The proposed league, dubbed the "New T20," would have excluded nine of the less glamorous county sides.

Clarke said the competition would have "a structure which also takes advantage of elements of the David Stewart and Keith Bradshaw funding proposals."