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Mar 08, 2012 at 03:32pm IST

ICC backs Twenty20 expansion

Dubai: International cricket chiefs backed an expansion of the Twenty20 format on Wednesday, agreeing three extra matches per major country should be played in years when a world championship is staged.

At the moment, each senior nation is limited to an annual maximum of 12 matches in the game's shortest format.

It was also decided at the ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) meeting that the 2014 World Twenty20, to be played in Bangladesh, should be increased to 16 teams.

ICC backs Twenty20 expansion

At the moment, each senior nation is limited to an annual maximum of 12 matches in the game's shortest format.

The committee also said that Associate and Affiliate Members - which include the likes of Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands - should consider submitting a proposition to host a future ICC World Twenty20 event.

"It was an important discussion and the CEC agreed that further conversations to strategically manage T20 cricket and also to promote all three formats would be beneficial," said ICC chief Haroon Lorgat.

Meanwhile, the ICC said that it would back non-neutral umpires in the event of Bangladesh agreeing to tour Pakistan, a cricketing no-go zone since March, 2009 when gunmen ambushed the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, killing eight Pakistanis and wounding seven visiting players and their assistant coach.

The attack suspended international cricket in the country, stripped Pakistan of its 2011 World Cup matches and forced it to play home series at neutral venues in England, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.

The committee said a special dispensation could be made to allow non-neutral umpires in the event of it being judged unsafe to appoint overseas match officials to the tour.

"Bearing in mind that safety and security is the sole responsibility of individual Member Board's for bilateral matches, the CEC regarded this as an exceptional circumstance in which the appointment to matches of non-neutral match officials could be justified but stated clearly that it should not to be regarded as a preferred option or precedent if the dispensation were to be granted," said Lorgat.

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