What to expect in crucial ICC meeting on World T20, IPL
As per the original FTP, back-to-back T20 World Cups were supposed to be held in 2020 and 2021 – in Australia and India – and give the teams a gap of more than one year to prepare for the 50-over World Cup – also in India in 2023.
The future of the T20 World Cup will be a hot topic of discussion when the International Cricket Council conducts its meeting with members of cricket boards on Thursday. On Wednesday, reports emerged suggesting the ICC could contemplate having the T20 World Cup, scheduled between October 18 and November 15 later this year in Australia; postponed. However, given the uncertainty surrounding the event due to the Covid-19, chances are that it could well be pushed to 2022.
As per the original FTP, back-to-back T20 World Cups were supposed to be held in 2020 and 2021 – in Australia and India – and give the teams a gap of more than one year to prepare for the 50-over World Cup – also in India in 2023. But the pandemic has thrown the original FTP out of the window, and the roadmap for world cricket going forward is likely to see the T20 World Cup getting postponed to 2022.
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Truth be told, the prospect of this year’s T20 World Cup is receding by the day. With no immediate end to the pandemic in sight, it is virtually impossible to stage an event of such magnitude. Even though Australia isn’t one the worst affected countries in the world, it is unlikely that all 16 team boards and their members would be willing to risk the health of players. Besides, travel restrictions imposed by several countries also stand in the way. As certain players and authorities have mentioned, conducting a T20 World Cup will be a logistical nightmare.
However, whether an official announcement is made on Thursday is something to wonder. Moments after reports of the tournament’s postponement emerged, there were conflicting sources from certain ICC sources stating the contrary. But by the look of it, by all means, chances of the T20 World Cup happening this year looks bleak as it carries a huge risk, and to avoid further financial setbacks, the safer options seem the pushing of the tournament to another year.
What happens to the IPL?
The reopening of sports complexes and stadiums across India came as a positive sign for the IPL, even though the Home Ministry highlighted that no public gathering will be allowed. Sports does fall in that category, but in that case, should we rule out the possibility of an IPL behind closed doors? Negative.
The BCCI is estimated to endure losses worth Rs 4000 crore if the IPL is skipped this year and amid reports of the governing council targeting the October-November window, the IPL could be the perfect fit if the T20 World Cup is indeed postponed. An IPL towards the year end is an idea backed strongly by Australia quick Pat Cummins, who was the most expensive buy at last year’s auction and with many cricketers and administrators in favour of the tournament, it will take a lot to ensure a year going by without the IPL.
India is still heavily suffering from the Coronavirus and its implications, and like other countries, possible travel restrictions may force an IPL without foreigners. The original start of this year’s IPL was March 29, which got postponed to April 15 before being postponed indefinitely. Earlier, the proposed window was that of July-August but given the likelihood that international cricket may resume around the same time with India’s proposed tours to Sri Lanka and later South Africa, that period seems shelved. In such a scenario, the IPL as a replacement for the T20 World Cup promises to be just as big.
2021 T20 World Cup in India in danger?
Another important matter the ICC is set to discuss is the future of the T20 World Cup in India next year. The ICC reportedly threatened India that they’ll move the tournament elsewhere if the BCCI fails to secure tax exemption for the tournament. Even though BCCI sources have claimed that ICC will not make any rash decision, it is worth noting that without exemption, the ICC is expected to suffer a heavy loss, and even though the BCCI was given till May 18 to make an official confirmation, it is assumed that date has been pushed further back.
Tax issues have plagued ICC and BCCI’s relations since the last time an ICC event was held in India – the 2016 World T20. Back then, due to no exemptions being made on the tax front, the ICC approximately incurred losses worth USD 20-30 million, and at this juncture, the board is not in a situation to incur further losses.
Despite their individual stances, the general belief is that both parties are open to hearing each other’s side of the story, and with the Shashank Manohar – who has had a murky relationship with the Indian board – set to step down as ICC chairman, the BCCI has a chance to present their case. Either way, Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president will have to work an ace of his sleeve.