Much has been speculated about this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia and whether the seventh edition of the event will actually go ahead due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
But, something that many cricket fans around the world might not know is that there is another T20 World Cup scheduled for 2021 and yes, as expected, it will be staged in India.
Despite the unknown element to this, a World Cup next year might act as great salvation for that what is lost in 2020.
Unfortunately, trying to somewhat replace this year’s World Cup with next year’s is obviously not that straight-forward.
In playing terms it might be seen as a second chance for some of the players and teams, because if the one in Australia is voided as a result, then they will have an extra year to prepare for the October action in India next year.
It might even give AB de Villiers more time to prepare and work his way back into the Proteas T20 team, something he is quite adamant about.
But, then again, he also recently told Rapport that should this year’s World Cup be voided it will only diminish his chances of playing for South Africa again.
Logistically, and with regard to the qualifying process, it will present a number of issues and challenges to the ICC and participating countries.
Mainly, Cricket Australia will do everything in their power to make sure this year’s World Cup goes ahead as planned, even if it means strict regulations are in place or possible postponement as a last resort.
Given the significant amount of money involved, it will be highly unlikely that CA will simply allow it to be cancelled or moved to a later date so that focus and preparations can be placed on next year’s World Cup in India.
A big problem for CA and the ICC, however, will be the 12-month time frame between the two World Cups. Should a postponement be enforced, then it will likely result in completion early next year. However, with India also touring Australia in December and January next year in another expensive series, it will almost definitely lead to further complications in terms of hosting the event and salvaging lost money.
And, the Women’s T20 World Cup is also set take place again next year in New Zealand, with a start date in February, which will only add further worries and issues for the ICC.
On the other hand, it will force the ICC to prioritise certain strategies to avoid such complications as I doubt they will allow India’s T20 World Cup to be affected or postponed in order to accommodate the one in Australia.
And it should be mentioned that the 2023 ODI World Cup will also be held in India, a mere 12 years after they last hosted it in 2011.
All of this probably sounds quite confusing, because it mainly is. And, the havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic certainly hasn’t made matters easier.
The ICC has a huge problem that is going to lead to massive loss of income some way or another.
The fact that Australia’s response to the coronavirus has been brilliant is a real positive, but it could still mean no fans will be able to attend the games – at least not travelling international fans.
Both CA and the ICC are bargaining on money fans bring into such competitions and, of course, the atmosphere is highly important for the game.
So, what are the ICC’s options?
Ideally, complete this year’s World Cup in Australia as planned even if it is without fans or get it done as quickly as possible following India’s tour to Australia.
That will however mean 2021 will feature two T20 World Cups as the ICC already confirmed the qualification process for next year’s edition.
Following a meeting in April, the ICC did emphasise that they are against the postponement of any World Cups, given the already packed calendar.
The meeting allowed all 12 full member nations to provide updates on their respective situations, while three representatives from the associate nations also provided insights.
As a result, an agreement was made to ‘collectively review’ all scheduled tours for fixtures until 2023.
The ICC’s plan to move to a system of T20 and ODI World Cups two years apart in a four-year cycle is suddenly on the ropes and will require proper leadership to find the best possible outcome.
But, unfortunately, the money involved could lead to certain decisions that many members might not agree with.
The T20 World Cup is desperate for consistency as there were six events in the first ten years. Originally the plan was to hold it every second year without conflicting with the ODI World Cup, but it has now been four years since the last edition in 2016, unsurprisingly also held in India.
Clarity is needed on the system the ICC is trying to implement in terms of staging T20 World Cups and, more importantly, it is needed on what exactly the alternatives are for the one in Australia as we are five months away from the scheduled start in October.