‘No February-March window for T20 World Cup’: Has broadcaster written to ICC? – Times of India

MUMBAI: The economics of cricket is on the verge of taking a massive hit and suffering a downfall like never before if the industry’s perspective on the game is not taken into account.

As the International Cricket Council (ICC) heads towards an election — one that will see a new chairman coming on board — the game’s global administrators appear to be seeped in vote-bank politics as cricket itself stares down a dark, empty barrel.

The ICC is debating on how to reschedule the T20 World Cup even as Cricket Australia (CA) chairman has written to the governing body that Australia does not want to host the 2020 T20 World Cup. In fact, they have conveyed that they would like to host the tournament in 2021.

If it so happens, the matter will soon begin to revolve between India and Australia coming to an understanding on that front officially — a decision that can be arrived at today.

India is scheduled to host the 2021 T20 World Cup in the October-November window, a decision commercially unfeasible — same as Australia’s turn this year reads — one that will not see the light of the day if political bargaining at the ICC continues.

TOI understands that ICC’s broadcast partners Star India too have written to the governing body that they would not like the tournament to be hosted in the February-March window — 2021 and 2022 included — given the economics of the sport and an over-indulgence in a format that is still figuring ways to optimise income.

“There is a line of thought that the T20 World Cup, once rescheduled, can be hosted in the February-March window, either in 2021 or in 2022 or both. Can that happen? You should ask the broadcasters because they don’t look at it favourably,” say those tracking developments.

Star is learnt to have categorically told the ICC that the February-March windows cannot be used to host the T20 World Cup — and a letter to the effect is learnt to have been sent by the broadcast rights holder.

“If the IPL is held this year in October-November, the Big Bash in January, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in March, you still want to squeeze in a T20 World Cup? ALL this despite knowing that the IPL will begin either by March-end or early April? Obviously that’s not happening. Not it’s not a surprise that Star isn’t still upset,” say sources in the know.

Star alone is not clued in to a similar sentiment. The above logic doesn’t just apply to 2021 but 2022 T20 event and the calendar in general. “If there’s a T20 World Cup in 2021 October-November and then another edition in 2022 February-March, what are we looking at? A champion team for less than six months? That makes sense,” sources add.

They clearly don’t make sense and so don’t the commercials at stake the cricketing ecosystem is looking to arrive at ahead of a highly politically motivated election. “The one thing ICC needs to do is consult its stakeholders at the earliest. Because the fact is only BCCI will play the role of a saviour, from financial bankruptcy, going forward,” say those in the know.

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