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ICC’s ‘Events’

The ICC has for the last 2-3 years been desperately looking for ICC ‘events’ which can generate some money for it, so that it can go ahead and improve it’s development program. The world cup is obviously their cash cow, but there is also the biannual Champions Trophy. Last year, they added the Super Series to the roster along with Asia/Africa games, but both ended up being damp squibs.

Though I do not agree with all the muscle flexing that BCCI is trying to do these days, one of the things on which I do agree with them is that the Champions Trophy manages to reduce the importance of the World Cup, especially since the 8 teams that realistically look like winning a world cup end up playing in the champions trophy. An 8 team Champions trophy would be a great idea if there were at least 13-14 teams that can win the world cup, but not at the momment. However, since the funds being generated are being used very well by the ICC to expand and develop the game further in the world, one has to keep it going.

Perhaps, the ICC can test out a concept of having only 5 teams in the champions trophy. The teams can play on a round robin basis totalling 9 matches and then the final. Typically, they can hold this tournament over a 2 week period, and since the footprint of the tournament is smaller, ICC can even host it once every year during a time period which is ideally not any country’s domestic season (September 15-30 looks like one possible slot). The five teams selected would be the top 5 ranked teams in the iCC rankings as of March that year. This would also end up giving a lot of value to the ICC ranking system. The other thing that ICC should ensure duing that 2 week period is that no other international match is scheduled in that time frame, so that the market of cricket viewers is focused on this tournament, even if their team is not playing.

International Hockey holds their champions trophy every year between the top six teams, but the value of the World Cup is never reduced. In 2005, the hockey champions trophy was played between Australia, India, Pakistan, Germany, Spain and Holland. Surprisingly, there is also the Olympic Championships contested by 12 teams every 4 years, but the value of the World Cup is STILL not reduced. Staying with the Champions trophy of Hockey in 2005, you have to note that there were a number of teams which were not playing which at least could manage to finish in the top 6 in the world cup i.e. Argentina, South Korea, England, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa etc. Additionally, the champions trophy is a round robin league format, while the world cup hockey always features 12 teams divided in 2 pools of six each. This makes the champions trophy a totally different kind of a tournament from the world cup, despite the fact that it is help every year.

The super test, although not a bad idea, is something that does not look viable. One of the reasons that the past World XI was able to perform well against Australia in the 70s was because they played a 5 test series, and also played a number of warm up games before the tests. That enabled them to form a unit rather than a disjointed set that they appeared to be during 2005. I would be very surprised if a 5 test super test series is possible in this day and age with the current cricketing calender. So I think either the process would be scrapped altogether by the ICC for the futre, or we will have to bear with whatever is shown to us as a super series.

Unfortunately, the age level tournaments do not generate a lot of interest in the cricketing world. This is a pity, because at least the U19 world cup features great matches, and the kids are old enough to display a good game of cricket. Additionally, U19s usually end up being in the national team in 4-5 year’s time so it gives one a glimpse of the future. But given the interest level, this tournament I think is a development expense for the ICC instead of a revenue earning tournament.

One other tournament that the ICC can experiment with is a 6 nation tournament between 3 weakest ODI nations and 3 strongest associate nations. It is likely to generate a fair amount of interest amongst the associate nations. It would be a different market and perhaps the ICC can find a new source of revenue, especially if the tournament is held in one of the associate countries. This tournament would also let everyone see exactly what the difference is between the strong assocaites and the weak full members.

I believe that one other tournament tha the ICC might be adding to its roster is the T20 World Cup. It will be interesting to see exactly how many teams are invited for the tournament, how they are selected, and what the response is of the crowd for the tournament. Personally I think that there should be only 1 world cup for a sport. Adding a second one by changing the format is a little wierd. Nonetheless, it will be another tournament that the ICC can add to the list, and perhaps generate some money for the development program.

Whatever the ICC tries to do, it has to realize that its main problem is that it needs to have at least 15-20 countries in the world that can win against each other anytime. Untill that happens, the ICC will be limited by what they can and what they cannot do with the current set of countries in their membership roster. With 20 good teams, the champions trophy can become an annual event if contested by the top 6 nations, the regional tournaments like Asia Cup, European Cup or Africa cup can also become good revenue earners for the ICC. It makes a chicken and egg type of situation for the ICC. Not many countries hence not many tournaments possible, and not many tournaments possible hence no funds, hence not much development to bring up new countries.

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. Cuen Lucas
    January 27, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Just a thought…

    What about scrapping the champions trophy as we know it and make it the T20 champions Trophy? That way the CT doesn’t take anything away from the
    World Cup and because the format is so much shorter you can easily accomodate more teams.

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