ICC switches order with India to stage T20 World Cup before Australia
India, cricket’s biggest market, has been retained as the host of the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the top national teams tournament in the short format of the game, with Australia to stage the following edition a year later.
This comes after the postponement of the scheduled 2020 tournament, which was to have taken place in Australia in October and November of this year, only to be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new scheduling was decided today by the IBC, the commercial subsidiary of the ICC, following an extensive contingency planning exercise which factored in “the health, cricket and commercial impact of Covid-19 around the world.”
International cricket has been hit by multiple postponements and cancellations, and there will have been a desire to stage a global event in India as soon as possible.
In other developments, the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand has been put back by 12 months to February and March of 2022.
As expected, the IBC last month took the decision to postpone the Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, with the pandemic presenting logistical and travel challenges for the organisers planning to stage 45 games involving 16 teams.
However, Australia will now have to wait two years to host the event for the first time, with India to stage the next edition in October and November of 2021.
There has been an ongoing dispute between the ICC and the Board of Control for Cricket in India over the Indian government’s refusal to grant a tax waiver for the T20 World Cup, with correspondence published earlier this year suggesting that the country could even be stripped of the tournament.
However, the two governing bodies will be hopeful that the issue can be resolved as soon as possible, given the commercial attractions of returning the tournament to India, and the fact that, by the autumn of 2021, it will have been five years since the ICC’s showpiece T20 competition was last held, also in India, in 2016.
In a statement today, ICC acting chairman Imran Khwaja said: “Over the last few months as we have considered how we return to staging global events, our number one priority has been to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in ICC events.
“The decisions the board have taken today are in the best interests of the sport, our partners and importantly our fans. I’d like to thank our partners at the BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket New Zealand as well as the Australian and New Zealand governments for their continued support and commitment to a safe return to ICC events.”
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney added: “We now have absolute clarity on the future of ICC events enabling all of our members to focus on the rescheduling of lost international and domestic cricket. We will now proceed as planned with the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in India and host the 2022 edition in Australia.”
The postponement of this year’s T20 World Cup has enabled the BCCI to stage the lucrative Indian Premier League, which, having been put on ice earlier in the year, will now take in the United Arab Emirates from 19 September to 10 November.
As a result, England's one-day international series in India this autumn has now been postponed to early 2021.
With regard to the next Women’s Cricket World Cup, Sawhney said that the delay would “give players from every competing nation, the best opportunity to be ready for the world’s biggest stage and there is still a global qualifier to complete to decide the final three teams.
“There has been no women’s international cricket played since the conclusion of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup [in Australia] earlier this year and due to the varying impact of Covid-19 globally that is likely to remain the situation for a number of the teams. Moving the event by 12 months gives all competing teams the chance to play a sufficient level of cricket ahead of both the qualification event and leading into a Cricket World Cup so the integrity of the tournament is maintained.”
Meanwhile, the ICC had the highest number of video views on Facebook of any leading sports body in the first half of 2020, according to a new study.
The results from Facebook-owned CrowdTangle show that there were 1.65 billion views on the ICC channel, and that, even while there was no live cricket in the prime coronavirus lockdown period from April to June, interactions on the page were more than two and a half times higher than other prominent leagues and sports bodies.
Over the last 12-month period, the ICC Facebook channel has been the most-engaged page in its category, and had the best day in its history this February, with 4.4 million interactions as Bangladesh shocked India in the final of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.
The tournament as a whole generated 747 million video views across ICC digital media assets, up 700 per cent from the 2018 edition, and even this figure was surpassed for the Women’s T20 World Cup in January and February, with 1.1 billion views, an increase of 1,900 per cent on the previous event two years earlier.
The day of the final, in which Australia beat India, saw the most-ever views for a single day on the ICC Facebook page, with 64.9 million.
With no live cricket taking place, the ICC pivoted to offer fans archive clips on Facebook during the lockdown, with the result that daily video consumption increased fivefold, from 3 million minutes per day to 15 million minutes per day.
Welcoming the results, Sawhney said: “The combination of one of the world’s most-watched sports with one of the world’s largest platforms is proving exciting for the growth of cricket consumption. These numbers are testimony to the fact that cricket truly has the power to connect and engage more deeply with diverse audiences around the world. We will continue to enhance to enhance these engagements and serve the global cricket fan with exciting content at the back of this partnership.”
In 2019, Facebook secured exclusive digital content rights in India to global events organised by the ICC until 2023.
Under the partnership, Facebook secured a variety of coverage, including match recaps, in-play key moments and other match and feature content from 12 tournaments on its Facebook Watch platform across the region.