Test C'ship schedule, ODI league to be discussed in ICC's CEC meet

Updated: Apr 21, 2020, 07:55 IST | PTI | New Delhi

The ODI league was to start in June but the first series under it -- South Africa's away three-match rubber against Sri Lanka in the first week of June -- was cancelled on Monday due to the pandemic

Representational picture
Representational picture

The ICC's Chief Executives Committee (CEC) will discuss the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic over a conference call on Thursday in which the World Test Championship and the ODI league schedule will also come up for deliberation. The ODI league was to start in June but the first series under it -- South Africa's away three-match rubber against Sri Lanka in the first week of June -- was cancelled on Monday due to the pandemic.

ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said: "This meeting is the first step of a collective process as we assess the impact of this ongoing global pandemic and work together so the sport can emerge from it in a strong position. "We need to share knowledge and start to build a deep understanding of what it will take to resume international cricket." It is clear that no concrete decision can be taken unless the ICC is able to figure out how many events it will lose due to the global lockdown which has brought the world to a standstill. "We are almost at the halfway point of the World Test Championship, and the Super League is yet to commence so we will consider a range of options for each with our Members. But it's still some way to go before," a senior ICC Board member told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Sawhney admitted that they have a tough road ahead in uncertain times. "The scale of this task should not be underestimated and will encompass a myriad of factors until the public health situation has improved to a point that it is safe for our players, our employees, our fans and in a way that will not impact the public health situation adversely. "Countries will start to reopen at different stages and in different ways and we will need to respect that and have a holistic view of this to enable us to take well-informed decisions that mitigate the various risks as much as possible," the ICC Chief Executive added. Sawhney said that ICC is taking advice from Australian government with regards to hosting the World T20 in October.

"...we will continue to take advice from experts and authorities, including the Australian government. We will utilize all of the data and information available to us to ensure we can take responsible decisions around all competitions at an appropriate time that are in the best interests of our sport." The senior official, who has attended a number of ICC board meetings, made it clear that cancellation of another couple of Test series could heavily impact the WTC calendar. "Look, we had to finish the league phase by March 2021 with final at Lord's in June, 2021. India are more secured as they don't have any cancelled series till now and their next Test series in Australia starts end of November," the official said. "But England already have lost one against Sri Lanka. Also you don't know if West Indies and Pakistan can tour England this summer," he added. Although everyone is tight-lipped, an option of extending the calendar for the WTC might be explored where teams get to complete their bilateral Test engagements. Add to that, the 13-team ODI league with points system, where each team has to play eight bilateral 50-over series (three-match series). The ODI league will continue till March, 2022.

As per points table as on March, 2022, India as hosts (automatic qualification) and seven other teams will qualify directly to the World Cup. The bottom five will play a Qualifier with five associates and top two from there will complete the 10-team World Cup in 2023. "At this time CEC will discuss the collective process to consider impact of COVID-19 on the sport. The members would like to get an understanding from each other as to when cricket might restart in their respective regions and under what conditions," a CEC member said. It has also been learnt that as of now, the ICC won't tinker with the existing World T20 schedule in October-November as save 'Big Three' -- India, Australia and England-- the smaller nations might find it difficult to sustain without the event is expected to generate. In case the World T20 is shifted, the revenue stream, especially cash-flow will be severely affected. India will be represented at the CEC meet by BCCI secretary Jay Shah.

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