T20 World Cup decision caught in ICC election crossfire
- Updated: June 10, 2020
Four months away from the T20 World Cup in Australia, a call over its postponement is still to be taken. The ICC will meet virtually yet again on Wednesday, as the sixteen competing nations wait for word on whether the event will go ahead or not.
The improving health situation in Australia may raise hopes, but with international travel suspended, quarantine rules and extra expenditures involved, no crowds, and rusty cricketers, staging the big ticket event appears increasingly difficult. ICC’s own guidelines for return to T20 cricket advocates at least 5 weeks of training before a match for example, and players in many countries, including India, Bangladesh and Pakistan have not returned to any form of training yet.
In the last ICC meeting held two weeks back, a decision on the world cup was deferred by the governing body to attend to an internal communication leakage. An ethics inquiry was set up subsequently, and the ICC CEO is scheduled to share its findings at the meeting. Also on the agenda is putting in place a timeline for elections for the ICC Chair.
Those tracking developments say the impending decision over the T20 World Cup, the ethics inquiry, and the sharp email-exchange between BCCI and ICC over tax issues are all related to July’s ICC elections. The wait keeps the Indian cricket board, who are hoping that the World Cup is deferred or cancelled so the IPL can be held in that window, on the edge.
“Everyone is waiting for them to make a decision about the World Cup. It’s about time a decision is arrived at, since boards have their bilateral calendar to attend to,” said BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal.
At an Asian cricket council (ACC) meeting on Monday, a decision to postpone the Asia Cup was also deferred, although pulling off a six-nation competition in three months time looks improbable. Pakistan cricket board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani is reportedly considering running for the ICC Chairmanship. Mani also heads ICC’s Finance and Commercial affairs committee, where there is no BCCI representation. BCCI blames current ICC chairman Shashank Manohar of wiping out India’s presence from the crucial committee that deals with ICC finances, with the help of Mani. Manohar, after he became ICC Chairman, also scuttled the proposed “Big Three” formula, that would have given BCCI significantly more revenue share from the ICC..
The England and Wales cricket board (ECB) Chairman Colin Graves is the front runner to replace Manohar in July. That is if he gets BCCI support. The Indian board is not revealing its stance, but BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s name has been doing the rounds for the ICC Chair as well.
If it is decided that the T20 World Cup needs to be postponed, an alternate window will also have to be found for it. Cricket Australia prefers to postpone it to October 2021, but next year is India’s turn to host a T20 World Cup, and BCCI will not want to mess with that.