ICC mulls moving T20 World Cup to UAE, expands number of teams for showbiz events - GulfToday

ICC mulls moving T20 World Cup to UAE, expands number of teams for showbiz events


West Indies players celebrate their T20 World Cup victory in 2016. File

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

The UAE could become the proud host of the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Tuesday.

Many groundbreaking decisions were taken in an ICC meeting on Tuesday, which will change the landscape of the game in the future.

The world governing body met on Tuesday to chart out a map for the future events of the ICC from 2024 to 2031.

In a watershed move, the world's cricket governing body also announced to reinstate the aborted Champions Trophy and the expansion of participating teams in the world-class ICC events.

The move to shift the T20 World Cup seems to have been triggered by an unprecedented spike in the coronavirus cases in India, however it was not cited as the reason by the ICC.

“The ICC Board has requested management focus its planning efforts for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 on the event being staged in the UAE with the possibility of including another venue in the Middle East,” ICC said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The final decision is expected to be taken later this month. Irrespective of the country, where the showpiece event will be staged, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will remain the hosts,” added the ICC in the statement.

Cricketing powerhouse India is seeking more time to analyze the feasibility of hosting the tourney. The announcement came after BCCI decided to move the postponed-IPL to the UAE after it was cancelled mid-way as outbreak of the epidemic in the bio-secure bubble led to exodus of the foreign players. But BCCI cited monsoon as the reason for shifting the IPL to the UAE.

The 2021 T20 World Cup was also originally slated to be held in India in October-November. But a drastic surge in the COVID-19 cases not only forced the BCCI to postpone the IPL, but also cast an ominous shadow on the staging the cricket extravaganza in India later this year.

The West Indies are the current T20 World Cup champion.

The IPL was cancelled mid-way after the second wave hit the country of one billion plus. India is still reeling under the catastrophe, which forced a nationwide lockdown, throwing the life into a disarray and chaos while rendering thousands without basic medical amenities.

The ICC Board confirmed the schedule of ICC events from 2024- 2031 with both the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be expanded.

“The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will feature 14 teams and 54 matches in 2027 and 2031. While the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be expanded to 20 teams, playing 55 matches in 2024, 2026, 2028 and 2030,” the ICC said.

The 50-over World Cup, won by hosts England in 2019, saw the participation of only 10 teams which drew flaks for hindering the growth of the game worldwide.

However, no changes were made for the 50-over World Cup to be held in India in 2023. It will feature only top ten teams like its predecessor.

An eight team Champions Trophy will be hosted in 2025 and 2029. ICC World Test Championship Finals will be hosted in 2025, 2027, 2029 and 2031.

The Champions trophy, which began in 1998, was scrapped in 2017 following a debate which questioned its purpose. Pakistan had won the last edition in England when the competition was aborted from ICC’s calendar.

“The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup format will have two groups of seven, with the top three in each group progressing to a Super Six stage, followed by semi-finals and final.

“This is the same format that was used in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2003. The format of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will consist of four groups of five, with the top two from each group going through to a Super Eights stage, followed by the knockout stages of semi-finals and a final,” elaborated the ICC.

"The Champions Trophy will follow previous editions with two groups of four, semi-finals and final," informed the governing body.

The ICC Women’s event schedule has already been confirmed with the expansion of both the Cricket World Cup and T20 World Cup forming part of the ICC’s long-term commitment to growing the women’s game.

“Having the ICC event schedule confirmed through to 2031 is a significant step forward for cricket and will form the basis of our growth strategy for the next decade,” ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said.

“The revised approach to selecting hosts for our events will give us much more flexibility to grow the game and engage new fans,” he added.

“There is a smaller pool of countries with the infrastructure needed to host our senior Men’s events which narrows the selection process.

“Additionally, many of our Members expressed interest in hosting Women’s and U19 events which gives us a great opportunity to stage events in established and emerging cricket nations,” he apprised.

Related articles