CHENNAI: After shrinking the number of participating teams in global events in the current cycle, the International Cricket Council (ICC) — with Olympic participation getting closer and closer — has decided to open the door for more countries. The 50-over men's World Cup will now feature 14 teams in 2027 and 2031, while the T20 men's World Cup will see 20 teams featuring in 2024, 2026, 2028, and 2030. Also back in the Future Tours Programme is an eight-team Champions Trophy which will be played in 2025 and 2029.
The ICC board which met virtually on Tuesday agreed unanimously to the changes which see at least one ICC event every year from 2024 to 2031 if one takes into account the World Test Championship (WTC) final. Apart from expanding the teams, the other big decision that came out of the meeting was with regards to the WTC, which will continue in the next FTP.
However, there remains a question mark about the WTC for the 2021-2023 cycle. The current one ends with the final between India and New Zealand, which is slotted to be played in Southampton from June 18-22. As reported by this newspaper, members are still divided about continuing the event as boards are grappling with huge financial losses in the wake of the pandemic. As a result, several boards are keen on having bilateral limited-overs series which will help them. Unless a majority agrees to continue with the WTC, there is a strong possibility that it might be suspended for two years.
As reported by TNIE before, members agreed unanimously about the need to expand the 50-over World Cup to 14 teams with the reintroduction of the Super Six stage that existed in 1999 and 2003 editions. The T20 World Cup will see four groups of five, with the top two playing a Super Eight round before the semifinals and final.
The ICC will decide on the hosts of each of its events by September.
With regards to the women's calendar, while there is no expansion of teams, the ICC has introduced a new event. There will be four T20 World Cup and two 50-over World Cups. But with the game becoming more and more marketable, the ICC has also added a T20 Champions Trophy which will see the top six teams based on the ranking taking part in 2027 and 2031.
BCCI gets time till June 28
With regards to the venue for the T20 World Cup scheduled for October-November this year, the ICC has given the BCCI time till June 28 to decide the venue. In case, the BCCI is not able to host the event in India, the UAE will host it.