What Does It Mean For the Cricket Field?
The men’s Cricket World Cup will expand to 14 teams and will be a 54-match event from 2027, while the T20 World Cup tournament will be expanded to a 20-team, 55-match event in 2024 to 2026, 2028, and 2030. These are a couple of the big decisions that the International Cricket Council has made regarding the significant events in the cricket sport cycle. These changes will affect the events between 2024 and 2031.
Among the new changes is the reintroduction of the Champion’s Trophy. The International Cricket Council argues that the eight-team tournament will fill the gap in 2025 and 2029 that had no global event apart from the WTC finals. In addition, the tournament also gives the governing body-ICC more negotiating power for the new broadcast rights deal, given the tournament’s major-league status. However, in an interview regarding the reintroduction of the tournament, one ICC spokesperson told The Indian Express, “It worked as part of the event cycle.”
In a bid to alter the perception that cricket is an elite sport, the ICC’s priority is to take cricket to the Olympics, making it a global sport. The game is currently played between 8-10 countries, thus remaining relevant in these countries. However, there has been debate from many quarters who argue the game lacks growth and representation in its current format. With more teams in the 50-overs World Cup and T20 World Cup, more Associate nations will have the chance to play competitively at the highest level.
However, players are worried about fatigue and the workload. Virat Kohli, the India captain, says there is a need to consult the players before finalizing the calendar.
He told the Indian Express, “Scheduling and workload, everyone will have to be very aware of and keep an eye out for. You never know when restrictions can come in place. In the future, we might have to play in bubbles, so it’s very important to consider how much cricket we are playing.”
Another major downside to the expansion is the struggle by smaller nations to create windows for bilateral series,. This ultimately means that the smaller countries might get more dependent on the ICC’s revenue share.
Secondly, since there will be very limited off-season, every cricket board will need to create a larger pool of players to maintain their competitive edge. The Big Three- India, England, and Australia should benefit from this arrangement since they have the financial muscle and a big talent pool.
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