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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Modi calms England Test concerns

Indian board chief Lalit Modi has assured England that their first Test against India will not be moved to accommodate the Champions League final.

The first Test starts in Ahmedabad on the morning of 11 December, just hours after the day-night final in Chennai.

India had proposed starting the first Test a day later than planned, but this has now been ruled out by Modi.

"No such thing will happen," he told BBC Sport. "We looked at rationalising the schedule but it's not possible."

India skipper Mahendra Dhoni is the only player from either side involved in the inaugural Champions League.

His team, Chennai Super Kings, are so desperate for him to be allowed to play should they reach the final that they asked Modi to push for the first Test to be played a day later than scheduled.

As chairman of the Indian Premier League, chairman of the Champions League board and vice president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Modi is hugely influential in world cricket.

He raised the idea of moving the first Test at a meeting with Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, and David Collier, the chief executive, last weekend - but they were against the proposal.

Modi added: "We don't even know if Chennai will be in the final, because the Champions League is yet to start. But whatever happens, Dhoni will definitely play in the first Test, starting as scheduled on 11 December."

Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, welcomed Modi's comments.

"This preserves the sanctity of Test cricket," he told BBC Sport.

Had the start of the first Test been moved, the second Test would have been likely to start on 20 December, meaning England's players would have faced a race to get home in time for Christmas.

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