It would only be right to first thank all the medical staff, civic workers and all other in front line help for their relentless service. All of them & there are families are in my prayers during this tough time. We will come out of this storm in the coming day’s I have immense confidence in our medical research.
I am one among the many sports fanatics staring at the wall & watching this space in these uncertain times. As Covid-19 has is getting worse every hour of the day & doing so has created huge landslides across the globe to various industries & businesses. The Sports world is not spared by any chance. The global sports calendar filled so many exciting events has been taken back seat as this pandemic has brought in an indefinite halt to it. I am one among the many sports fanatics staring at the wall & watching this space in these uncertain times. As Covid-19 has is getting worse every hour of the day & doing so has created huge landslides across the globe to various industries & businesses. The Sports World is not spared by any chance. The global sports calendar filled so many exciting events has been taken back seat as this pandemic has brought in an indefinite halt to it.
This also meant the Cricket calendar also took a bad hit, for starters Australia Vs New Zealand Odi series was called of having just played one game, England tour of Srilanka was called off with only a couple of tour games played and few other international fixtures were also postponed indefinitely. Not to forget the big one is the IPL which was supposed to commence from today was rescheduled for 15th April, by the looks of it this will eventually get pushed back with no defined timeline.
So it would be no brainier to say the first half of the year has taken a bad hit but what holds for the second half in the store?
We have the flagship event, Men’s T20 WC scheduled to kick start by October in Australian soil, this is also meant to be the largest WC event in cricket history as 20 teams are scheduled to participate for the first time. This is history in the making for the game of Cricket & for ICC as they have been striving hard for years to push the game to the global audience & to reach several non-cricket playing nations across the world. The success of this tournament could embark on a new milestone in the history of the game of cricket, it would give a strong foot hole for the game in the new countries that are participating in this event. The positive impact can go a long way if my speculations are right this will draw global attention in all high spirits and that may even cascade to the non-cricket fancying nations. This will act as a testimony for ICC to promote the game across the globe even for Olympics with ease. This brings us to the topic, with so much riding on this tournament would ICC take a chance to go ahead with it when the whole globe is an island of curiosity surrounded by a sea of question marks?
The Olympics association and UEFA have rescheduled their respective events in Olympics & Euro 2020 to the following year. So ICC will not be the first sporting board to take this decision, they do have few examples in front of them to study and analyze.
The event is scheduled to start by the 18th of October month so few might question why to take a decision now but not to wait. I have tried my best to analyze 5 underlying factors that could force ICC to announce about the reschedule the event indefinitely at the earliest. Let us dive deep to study those factors:
1. Uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation:
The situation out there looks highly unpredictable and bleak. It seems to get bad to worse so the possibility of things getting back to absolute normal within another 3-4 months looks highly unlikely. The unpredictable nature of it means ICC cannot play the waiting game, they will be forced to take a call on the tournaments availability at the most by 2 months from the first match date. So the deadline will be 2nd week into August month. Plenty of time left for that is what one might assume, but are we forgetting something here? Shouldn’t we consider the aftermath of Covid-19 effect? Yes, that is what we are going to analyze as we move forward to the next factor.
2. COVID-19 aftermath on stadium attendance:
The situation out there looks highly unpredictable and bleak. It seems to get bad to worse so the possibility of things getting back to absolute normal within another 3-4 months looks highly unlikely. The unpredictable nature of it means ICC cannot play the waiting game, they will be forced to take a call on the tournaments availability at the most by 3 months from the first match date. So the deadline will be 2nd week into July month. Plenty of time left for that is what one might assume, but are we forgetting something here? Shouldn’t we consider the aftermath of Covid-19 effect? Yes, that is what we are going to analyze as we move forward to the next factor.
3.Lack of match practice/Game time:
Leading up to a tournament of WC magnitude match practice and team composition are huge factors. As we know all bilateral series are suspended from February end, if the same situation persists it would mean very little to no game time for Players. This will be a very unhealthy situation. The team composition & game plan will also take a sizable hit.
All these factors do have a predecessor, which is 15 men Team selection for the WC. On what criteria the selection would take place? It would be a tough call to make as the stats will be at least 6 months old & form cannot even be measured. The players will be almost away from the game for months any selection done will be based on predictive analysis on old data & based on leadership group preference in each team. This will be cruel on many players & their dreams, not just that, with players being rusty the overall quality of the games in the tournament might no live up to standards. That would again project a bad image of the tournament quality. So ICC again needs to have a good eye on this factor.
4.Impact on Associate cricket nations:
For people who do follow cricket news & have an understanding of the revenue stream of the game this information might be known but for the others, this is important as it would shed more light on this factor we are said to analyze here. The big 3 in ICC i.e. BCCI, CA, and ECB. they contribute to almost 70-75% of the overall revenue generated from the game of cricket across the globe. So in the same ratio ICC also pays them back every year. ICC provided funds to every nation on annual term & the big 3 shares 60-70% of the total sum of it, which means the rest of the 7 + associate nations had to share the remaining 30-40%. Though it is justified for the big 3 to get their lions to share as they generate maximum revenue, it creates a hug monitory gap among cricket boards across the globe. This is the underlying reason which gives birth to this factor.
The Associate nations as we spoke have a think revenue stream in place, with no cricket for months how are they shaping up? Could they afford to pay their players? Once things are resolved will they have the muscle to get back up & prepare the team for a WC event in a couple of months? All the aspects & more are to be considered by ICC. Not to forget this is a 20 team tournament so a handful of teams might not even be Associate members by now or might have got the status within the last one year, they might face a huge crisis in comparison to rest. This again will lead to under-cooked associate teams competing in the tournament which will make the games no contest, this will not send the right message to the global audience & non-cricketing nations included.
5. Safety measures:
Last but not least. Safety measures required to be taken by Cricket Australia(CA) and the Australian government for smooth conduct of the tournament might cost them huge bucks. The impact & Panic might still be there, so to ensure the safety of Players & fans they must work towards getting out of the world arrangements to sanitize the Stadium & surrounding regions. As fans will be moving in from different countries they might need to have a close monitor of the people coming into their country their health status & also Australia is famous for tourism they would want tourism to flourish whenever such large events happen so extra care for tourists spots. The distance between cities in Australia is vast traveling will be extensive for Players so their travel & stay will also need to attend with extra care. There are so many other variables attached to it too, so spending so much on such measures might not be for the best. So ICC & CA will think on those ground too.
So as we stand here too many factors are stacked up against the WC to go as per schedule. The chances look bleak but we never know. But no one can predict what will happen over the next few weeks or months I tried my best to speculate the outlook of T20 WC 2020.
But the bigger picture is across globe so many people are suffering due to this situation for their situation to get better & for all of us to get out of this i do hope & pray this ends soon. Even though in the schema of things sports is not the top priority now, once things settle down we all would want the sporting world to be up & running, it plays a big part in our life I believe. So as a Cricket fanatic & sports lovers like you all i would also hope this changes quickly for the better & we all get to see our Favorite players dawn their jerseys to put up a game of cricket in the grandest stage as we all love to see 🙂