Cricket world looking for answers on when the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 will take place may have to wait a little longer than the International Cricket Council Board teleconference on June 10, Wednesday.
Cricket fraternity is eagerly awaiting the fate of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia. Despite all speculation the matter could not even be discussed when the ICC Board met via teleconference on May 28. The board could not even deliberate over two key items on agenda amidst din over the issue of “confidentiality”.
An independent investigation was initiated into the issue of confidentiality and sanctity of the ICC matters. The items on agenda were deferred to June 10, when the teleconference is rescheduled.
For the teleconference on Wednesday, the election process and schedule for the Independent Chair of ICC will be the top priority besides deliberation on the outcome of the investigation, carried out by the ICC’s Ethics Officer with the help of global experts.
There is little possibility that the board would even be able to take up the issue of the T20 World Cup in Australia, which is all but set to be deferred from its October-November schedule this year due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cricket Australia has itself urged the ICC to defer the event.
But, if not this year, then when? This bigger question will need a lot of brain storming before ICC could make a formal announcement on the future of 16-team event.
According to a source privy to the developments in the board meeting on May 28, another stormy session cannot be ruled out if a debate on the investigation report starts. “Even if the World Cup comes up for discussion, there is no way that the (ICC) board will be in a position to decide on the next dates of the tournament.
“A postponement is inevitable. Can ICC announce that without deciding the next dates? It cannot. Deciding the dates is a lengthy process. Since, the World Cup in not going to happen this year, where is the problem to rush with the matter. Also don’t forget, the World Cup dates will be decided by the members and not the ICC,” said the source. “For now the priority will be the election process and date.”
BCCI, however, will be keen on an early announcement about the T20 World Cup as that will set the ball rolling for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League in the time frame originally booked for the World Cup.
But, it’s not easy for the ICC or the members to find answers. Let’s take a look at possibilities.
Can the World Cup be rescheduled during March-April next year? Autumn Down Under can be a good time for cricket. But this is not going to get the support from the Pakistan Cricket Board simply because it derails the Pakistan Super League scheduling.
ICC’s broadcast partner Star India too might not be happy with that scheduling as it will prolong the high octane T20 cricket season on Star Sports to nearly four months as the IPL 2021 will just follow the World Cup. Sustaining spectator interest for that long will be a tough challenge.
Australia in all probability can also not host the deferred event during their next summer as India has been allotted the next edition of the tournament during that period. A tripartite understanding between Cricket Australia, ICC and the BCCI may still clear the passage for the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 being rescheduled in Australia next year. The three cricket boards will need some time to arrive at that conclusion.
Anything beyond that can make matters more complicated. The scenario, as the source suggested, leaves little room for a verdict on the fate of the World Cup at least on this Wednesday.
Thus, the people eagerly awaiting that can be made to wait a little longer as the ICC board addresses the serious issue of confidentiality and the election process, probably leaving the issue of the World Cup to be decided under the next Independent Chair.