Ok, hands up. How many of us actually expected the International Cricket Council (ICC) to deliver a verdict on the status of the 2020 Twenty20 World Cup on Thursday when its board met on Thursday?
Given the uncertainty around the global COVID-19 pandemic and the financial might of the Indian board (BCCI), you’d have to be living under a rock to to expect cricket’s governing body to allow the 16-nation T20 World Cup to be held instead of India touring Australia for a far more lucrative bilateral series.
And so we got the ICC deferring the decision on the T20 World Cup until June 10, while claiming that several board members raised concerns over the issue of confidentiality after a letter from Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Earl Eddings was leaked almost as soon as it was sent.
Simply put, a summer season featuring four Test matches against India will have a bigger impact on CA’s financial position – and they have been crying poor for months now – than the T20 World Cup.
And so, totally in sync with the developments, on the day the ICC board met via teleconference, CA announced its 2020-21 home summer itinerary headlined by four Tests against India which are expected to net them an approximate $300 million in broadcast rights.
Publicly, CA has counted the loss of not hosting the T20 World Cup at an estimated $20 million, with an additional $50m deficit when you factor in crowds not being allowed to attend the matches. On top of this, an estimated $10m would likely be needed to be forked out on biosecurity measures so that 16 international teams and their respective staff could arrive in Australia.
All valid points. But now, look at what CA stands to lose if it does not host India: an estimated $300m in broadcast rights.
See where we’re going with this?
The likely postponement of the T20 World cup versus the postponement of India’s tour? It is a no-brainer. Plus, the vacancy created by the T20 Word Cup being pushed into the future allows a window for the BCCI and its broadcasting bedfellow, Star Sports, to host the 2020 IPL, albeit a truncated version.
If there is no IPL this year, the losses are expected to be in the vicinity of $600m. And with no T20 World Cup, there is a window for the IPL. So Australia says it cannot host that tournament, India gladly gets a chance to push for the IPL, and both parties are happy. You scratch my back and all that.
Keep an eye on June 10, if you like, but you can guess what the announcement from the ICC will be.