CHENNAI: Coming up with an announcement which was awaited for a long time, the ICC has left another question unanswered. This year's T20 World Cup has been postponed. But which country will host it?
A T20 World Cup is already scheduled in India in 2021. The BCCI wanted to keep it on track and proposed that Australia stage the deferred edition in 2022. Cricket Australia (CA) wanted it the other way around, saying they would be the hosts in 2021 and India in 2022. The BCCI reasoned that a 50-over World Cup is also scheduled in India for February-March in 2023. Hosting back-to-back World Cups, with a gap of about four months, won’t be practical.
The ICC has kept things open-ended by releasing a statement which says: “The 2021 T20 World Cup will be held in October-November, the 2022 T20 World Cup will be held in October-November and the 2023 50-over World Cup will be held in India in October-November”. It adds that the last one has been rescheduled from February-March “to allow a longer qualification period”.
The point to be noted is, only for the 2023 50-over World Cup is the staging nation mentioned. The statement doesn’t say anything about the countries hosting the T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022.
This suggests the ICC is aware of this tug-of-war of sorts between BCCI and CA over the 2021 T20 World Cup. As reported by this daily on May 30, the BCCI was firm that it won’t accept the idea of staging two World Cups, one soon after another. Nothing happened in between to change that stand.
Considering that, the decision to push back the 2023 50-over World Cup by eight months appears to be a strategic move rather than just logistical. The BCCI can be told that instead of four months, they now have one year to prepare for the second World Cup, if they stage the T20 World Cup in 2022. If they agree, the T20 World Cup deferred on Monday will be played in Australia next year.
Since nothing is clear about the staging country for 2021 and 2022, it is assumed that the ICC has left it to BCCI and CA to decide who takes what. Effectively, the ICC announced a decision which was on the cards, without answering the question next in the queue. This means more phone calls between the boards of India and Australia over the next few days.