The ICC has put forward a proposal that suggests it intends to hold a global event every year in the 2023-2031 cycle.
The proposal has put the global body on to another collision course with the so-called big three – England, Australia and India – and raised questions about the future of the game.
A return for the Champions Cup in both T20 and ODI cricket will allow the ICC to host at least one global event in the men’s game every year between 2023 and 2031.
If accepted by member nations, this will have serious ramifications for the future of bilateral cricket. Therein lies the clash with the game’s big boys, who generate significantly more revenue from bilateral series than they do from global events.
Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and newly introduced full members Ireland and Afghanistan are likely to support the move.
The interests of these nations run at cross purposes with the game’s giants, while New Zealand and South Africa are caught somewhere in between. The Black Caps and Proteas have strong traditional rivalries with the big three and are able to generate revenue from their bigger series.
It is unclear which way Cricket South Africa and Cricket New Zealand would swing in this argument.
The ICC insists the move would be good for the game and would increase its ability to help out its struggling members. They went so far as to suggest that it was critical for the survival of the sport.
Zimbabwe missed out on the 2020 T20 World Cup and hosting Sri Lanka for two Test matches put their already strained finances under more pressure. For countries like Zimbabwe, it is a no-brainer to back the move.
Detractors say that a global tournament every year will devalue the events, both in prestige and their ability to draw an audience.
On the flip side, bilateral cricket and the way the game is traditionally structured don’t serve the best interests of six of the ICC’s 11 member nations and the current model does not support any significant expansion of the game.
The great problem for the ICC is that most established cricket fans are fond of cricket being based primarily around bilateral series and it is part of the charm of the sport.
The ICC and the big three look set to duke it out at the next round of board meetings in late March and the soul of cricket could be on the line.
Proposed ICC events
- 2023 – Cricket World Cup
- 2024 – T20 Champions Cup
- 2025 – ODI Champions Cup
- 2026 – T20 World Cup
- 2027 – Cricket World Cup, World Test Championship final
- 2028 – T20 Champions Cup
- 2029 – ODI Champions Cup
- 2030 – T20 World Cup
- 2031 – Cricket World Cup
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