MUMBAI: The 2020 edition of the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia is all set to be postponed. It will not be held in the October-November window, as scheduled, and an official announcement on these lines can be expected in the coming week.
The question that cricket administrators, especially those who oversee the affairs at the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the host board Cricket Australia, are looking to answer right now is: When can this edition of the T20 World Cup be held next?
Three options are in discussion right now.
A) Cricket Australia (CA) doesn’t mind scheduling the tournament in February/March. However, that coincides with a Twenty20 overkill – considering the Indian Premier League (IPL) will begin in April – and puts England’s tour of India in jeopardy. The broadcaster may not agree to the idea considering Star India holds the rights for ICC events as well as India’s bilateral calendar.
B) The BCCI agrees to allow CA to host the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup and in turn host the 2022 edition. That, however, is not such a feasible idea at the moment given that the Indian board is already busy cooperating with CA for the India tour Down Under later this year. “There’s no reason why India will agree to switch the T20 World Cups”, say those tracking developments.
C) Australia hosts the tournament in 2022 – a decision, if gone ahead with, suits most players on the table, especially considering there’s no ICC event scheduled that year.
This year’s edition, nevertheless, is being postponed and that’s a decision waiting to be formally taken and announced anytime between May 26 and 28 when member boards of the ICC participate in a teleconference.
In fact, once the ICC meetings begin, there are three important items on the agenda to be discussed, one of which is the postponement of the T20 World Cup. The other two are a) deciding on a date and deadline for filing nominations for an election for the role of a new chairman; b) deciding on a date for the election and the processes to be followed.
Meanwhile, Australia’s international borders are shut until mid-September. With stringent rules being put in place for quarantine – a fortnight is what the Australia government appears to be suggesting for those travelling there – there isn’t enough time and space to get the ball rolling for the 16-team event.
“And then of course, there are logistics and hospitality to take care of. If the tournament would’ve happened, it’d have been played to empty stands and that doesn’t make sense for Australia because they lose out on massive gate revenue. Right now, what they’ll be getting out of the tournament is the hosting and participation fee (latter is applicable to all participating boards). They can earn that money whenever the tournament is held next, possibly some gate revenue too,” say sources tracking developments.
It is for this reason that leading voices in Australian cricket have been vocal in recent weeks about the possible postponement. TOI had reported the same in April even as the ICC bought time to understand the scenario better before arriving at a decision.
Postponement of the T20 World Cup will mean a rare, empty window in October and November, one that the BCCI might look to capitalise on. Borrowing from the England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) idea to send a charter to Pakistan to fly them to England for the Test series in August, the BCCI too will not mind chartering an airplane to Australia and the Caribbean to fly the players in for IPL.
“That, however, is too early to talk about right now. A lot of things have to fall in place for it – most importantly this virus spread has to subside, the government has to approve, other countries have to agree to the travel, etc. Let’s cross the bridge when we get there,” sources add.