The England and Wales Cricket Board is in advanced talks to hold a new Twenty20 county competition in the Caribbean after the collapse of events sponsored by disgraced financier Allen Stanford.
It would give players like Shivnarine Chanderpaul a chance to recoup the money he lost under Stanford.
It would be the first Twenty20 county tournament held on foreign soil. The favoured venues are Antigua, Barbados and St Lucia, which might attract good numbers of English spectators.
The ECB’s executive board approved the scheme in principle last Monday, and the West Indies board discussed the matter over the weekend. Chris Dehring, who organised the 2007 World Cup, is to oversee the project. Talks have been held with potential sponsors.
Qualification for the tournament, which would be held before the start of the English season, would come through finishing places in existing domestic competitions.
The plan is likely to raise accusations that the ECB is killing the 20-overs market, as this would be the third Twenty20 county event.
The existing Twenty20 Cup is to be joined next year by an ‘all-star’ tournament, the P20, in which counties can include up to four overseas players rather than the one ‘import’ allowed in the Twenty20 Cup.
Abu Dhabi is also trying to arrange a county Twenty20 tournament next year.
However, ECB chairman Giles Clarke said: ‘The TV timings for the Caribbean are ideal. People can watch a game at home (in the UK) after a day’s work. It’s perfect.’