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Eng armed with backup plan for 20/20

Hosts will play against an international XI should Pakistan pull out of Monday's Twenty20 tie.

india Updated: Aug 26, 2006 17:25 IST

The England and Wales Cricket board has made a contingency plan to play against an international XI should Pakistan pull out of Monday's Twenty20 fixture.

"The ECB has received approval from ICC to approach leading world players to form an international XI to play against England at Bristol on Monday in case of the unlikely eventuality of the England versus Pakistan game being unable to proceed," the ECB said in a statement last night.

Even the Pro40 match between Glamorgan and Nottinghanshire, which was to be played on Monday, has been rescheduled for the previous day in an effort to facilitate choice of players for the international side.

"For this reason and as a further safeguard, ECB, Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan have agreed that the NatWest Pro40 match scheduled for Monday August 28 at Trent Bridge be re-scheduled to Sunday August 27 to allow a wide choice of players for the NatWest International XI - should it be required," the statement said.

The ECB also admitted that it had been in touch with ICC for a further contingency plan for the one-day series.

"ECB can also confirm that it has been in discussion with ICC and other full member boards to provide a further contingency plan for the NatWest series. These discussions are well advanced, but it is hoped that the Pakistan team will be able to fulfil its commitments."

It said "Shahriyar Khan, the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board, has in meetings held with David Morgan, the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, reconfirmed his board's strong desire of Pakistan to continue with the NatWest International Twenty20 fixture at Bristol on Monday and the subsequent NatWest Series."

However, the PCB chairman told David Morgan that until a new date can be set for the ICC Code of Conduct commission hearing, Pakistan remains concerned.

"The ECB, PCB and ICC, in recognizing those genuine concerns, have held regular and open discussions to ensure that the Pakistan tour schedule to England remains unaffected.

"While ECB and PCB are working diligently in a cordial and positive spirit to ensure that the remaining matches proceed as scheduled, it has been agreed by the chairmen of both boards that ECB should progress a contingency plan to unequivocally guarantee a match at Monday's NatWest International Twenty20 for spectators, television viewers and radio listeners," the ECB statement said.

ECB chief executive David Collier said: "We are pleased that discussions strongly indicate the England versus Pakistan NatWest International Twenty20 internationals and the subsequently NatWest Series will proceed as planned.

However given the current uncertainty concerning the scheduling of the Code of Conduct hearing and imminence of the NatWest Twenty20 it is prudent to examine all options to provide spectators with guaranteed play on Monday, he said.

"This has been achieved and while ECB and PCB hope that this contingency plan will not be required, the International XI remains on standby," he said.

The tourists' participation in the Natwest series had been in doubt with captain Inzamam-ul-Haq set to face an ICC disciplinary hearing for ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute following the controversial forfeiture of the fourth Test against England on Sunday.

First Published: Aug 25, 2006 10:54 IST