Cricket must resume with high profile tournaments in 2020

The postponement and cancellations of events place professional sporting codes in a very difficult financial situation.

The pressure is being felt in professional sport with the indefinite postponement and cancellations of certain tournaments to date. Add to this the possible further cancellation of future international events and tours with the possibility of no sport taking place for the rest of 2020. This places professional sporting codes in a very difficult financial situation, and even facing bankruptcy.

With the sporting world on hold, the television broadcasters and sponsors will not be paying their rights and advertising fees resulting in no income for the respective sporting bodies. Cricket being a professional sport finds itself in this situation with the rest of the sporting world. The Pakistan Super League suspended at the semi-final stage needs to be completed and the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been postponed indefinitely.

When and if cricket resumes in 2020, there are three tournaments that will need to take place as a priority as they are revenue generators that the game needs badly to survive. These are the Vitality Blast T20 in the United Kingdom, the IPL and the T20 World Cup scheduled to be played in Australia in October.

The English season will probably only start in July and this will leave no time for the County Championship to be played. This leaves the Vitality Blast T20 and the Hundred. The Vitality Blast T20 will take preference because it is a County competition, especially in the light of the County Championship not taking place. The England Cricket Board will delay the launch of the Hundred till 2021 to ensure that it has the best possible chance to succeed. Being a new innovation it makes no sense risking its establishment in these uncertain times.

The IPL will probably be played during September / October; if necessary, it will be a truncated version being played in lockdown stadiums and at a select number of venues. The television viewership of millions will be more important than the thousands who attend matches live. If the IPL were to be cancelled it would have a massive financial effect, not only on the Board of Control for Cricket in India and all the players but for world cricket in general. If only one tournament were to take place in 2020 it will need to be the IPL.

The World Cup T20 needs to be prioritised with the IPL because of its importance to world cricket. The revenues that are generated by this tournament will be distributed to all the International Cricket Council’s Full members, Affiliates and Associate members.

The rest of international and domestic cricket scheduled for 2020 will have to be compromised to ensure that cricket survives with the prioritisation of these three tournaments.

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