The recent ICC Champions Trophy had a wonderful spectacle of a final between India and Pakistan that could well end up being a fitting finale to the whole concept of the tournament. David Richardson, International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive, has floated the idea of the tournament being scrapped, as the idea of a World Twenty20 tournament being staged every two years is appealing to the world governing body of cricket.
At The Oval on 18th June the stunning finale to this years edition of the ICC Champions Trophy millions of cricket fans tuned in to their television sets around the glove to watch Pakistan thrash India by 180 runs. The tournament in England was deemed a success but the ICC believe that the eight-team tournament is now too similar in format to the World Cup. This similarity has come about due to the controversial decision by the ICC to drop the number of participants in the World Cup to 10 teams, with the next event being in England in 2019.
The idea behind the reduction in teams in the 50-over format of the World Cup is that it should drive up standards within the competition itself, making for interesting viewing for those at the stadiums and watching on television around the world. This increased competitiveness of matches at the World Cup has led to some board members of the ICC believing that there just isn’t the need for two world events for the 50-over game, especially as the numbers of participants is so similar. India is down to stage the 2021 edition of the ICC Champions Trophy but there is now uncertainty as to whether the global cricket calendar will change again, with the scrapping of the next addition.
Richardson said: “What we want to do is differentiate our global events from each other so that they can be standalone and create maximum interest every time the event happens”.
Either way the changes to the T20 format look set for more discussion, with a tournament being held every two years instead of four, and the possibility of a 16 or 20 team tournament in that format. In a format of cricket that attracts high levels of interest from spectators, advertising and television it is where the ICC want to offer more opportunities for teams to compete.
Whatever the outcome of the conversation regarding the future of the ICC Champions Trophy, the addition of more teams and more events for the T20 format of the game and other considerations for the International Cricket Council to contend, such as the decision to grant Test status to Ireland and Afghanistan, it is an interesting time for all those involved in the sport.