Coronavirus: Twenty20 World Cups set to go ahead as planned
Postponement is unattractive given the existential importance of shared central revenues to most national boards
Plans for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in October as planned remain in place but organisers in Australia are “exploring all other options” given uncertainty over global health.
A meeting of the International Cricket Council’s chief executives’ committee was held via conference call on Thursday, with the money-spinning men’s tournament one of the leading issues for discussion.
The Women’s World Cup in 2021 has greater breathing space given its place in the calendar – it is due to taken place in New Zealand next February – and a statement confirmed that preparations continue for both events to take place as scheduled.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and with several major nations in lockdown, the idea of a 16-team tournament of 45 matches in 29 days beginning in under six months might seem improbable and, as such, a series of alternatives are also being discussed behind the scenes.
Postponement is unattractive given the packed international calendar and the existential importance of shared central revenues to most of the national boards, but it is one of several options that will be given serious attention in the coming weeks.
Speaking after the meeting, Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said: “CA is working closely with the ICC, the local organising committee and the Australian government so we have a comprehensive understanding of exactly what it will take to be able to play the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 in October in Australia as planned.
“We are also jointly exploring all other options in relation to staging the event and will take the right decisions at the right time so we can host a wonderful celebration of the sport and keep everyone involved safe and well.”
Chief executives from each of the 12 full member nations spoke about their present situation, while three representatives stood for the associate nations. Dr Peter Harcourt, chair of the ICC medical committee, also offered a presentation outlining some of the necessary steps which would need to taken to allow competitive cricket in the event of an upturn in the global situation.
An agreement was reached that the future tours programme, governing fixtures up to 2023 would “need to be collectively reviewed” with a commitment to rescheduling rather than cancelling.
With series being lost en masse at the moment that may prove an impossible ask, while there is also doubt over the inaugural World Test Championship – scheduled to conclude with a Lord’s final next summer – and the one-day equivalent to stick to their allotted timescales.
“Discussions and decisions on (the FTP) and the future of both the World Test Championship and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League will be held at a later date, when there is a greater understanding of the impact of the cricket that has been lost on the competitions,” the statement continued.
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: “I am grateful to my fellow CEOs for their clear commitment to a unified approach to steering cricket through this pandemic. We will work in partnership for the best outcomes for the sport in relation to both ICC events and bilateral cricket.
“We agreed on the importance of taking well informed, responsible decisions in relation to the resumption of international cricket.
“The complexities involved in being able to stage ICC global events are extensive to ensure we protect the health and safety of everyone involved and they will be carefully considered before any decisions are arrived at in the best interests of the game.”