New Twenty20 tournament proposed

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The Independent Online

Four of the major players in county cricket are proposing a new £50m Twenty20 tournament based on the Indian Premier League to be held in England from 2010.

According to BBC Sport, the MCC, Lancashire, Hampshire and Surrey are proposing a new 57-match tournament spanning 25 days with nine franchises competing for the main prize.

All the franchises would be based at the Category A grounds qualified to stage Tests and one-day internationals and would enter into a bidding process for players, similar to that seen before this year's inaugural IPL.

Each squad would have a proposed salary cap of £1.5m and must include 12 homegrown players, with three of those under 23 years of age, while there would be an auction for overseas players.

Initial projections predict a profit of £50million in the first year, with the competition being run by a new Twenty20 Limited company rather than the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The profits and revenue would be shared between the ECB, who would distribute it down to the counties and grass roots cricket, and overseas boards who would provide some of the star players.

The proposals are expected to be presented to the ECB at next week's board meeting and include suggestions for a separate Friday night Twenty20 competition and a limited overs competition - probably 50-overs - to be run at the weekends.

It is the first serious attempt to rival the highly-successful IPL, which is planning to have two tournaments a year from 2011, and has made such an impact that 50% of England players confirmed they would consider retiring early to play in it in a recent survey.

Under these plans, the county championship would remain intact although it remains unclear how they could fit in an extra one-day competition without any impact on the current schedule.