T20I World Cup 2022: Why ICC Should Change The Existing Format Of Tournament?
T20I World Cup Can Be More Fun If Cricket Elites Ever Decide To Rise Over Self-Preservation

There were less than 300 spectators for the World Cup game between the
Netherlands and Namibia

Fun Fact: TheT20I World Cup has already started. You can watch Argentina and Fiji squaring off against each other in the cauldron of Geelong, where you will be greeted by a deafening silence in the stadium. The silence tells you a lot more about the state of the game than this writer can ever do. The atmosphere resembles a library more than a sporting venue. A perfect place to chart out your way to deal with the impending mid-life crisis, something which cricket itself is grappling with, and is yet to find a full-proof solution.


Argentina scurried away to a hard-fought victory in a dramatic fashion, and it was a shame that there was no Mexican wave, no songs of joy from their fans, and no basking in the glory with media persons preening around them for scoops. As soon as the match was over, the players hugged each other and trudged back to the dressing room, where they changed their musky-smelling underwear, and then booked a cab back to their hotel in the obscure suburb.

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The moment you are walking out of the stadium, you hear a middle-aged man telling your friend that Nambia lost out to the Netherlands by five wickets. Only then do you realize that the match was between Nambia vs the Netherlands, not Argentina vs Fiji as your intoxicated mind assumed. But it makes zero difference, to you as well as to the cricket’s elites. Had they cared more, they would haven’t gone with the current formats, where some teams need to pass through two qualifying rounds just to be eligible to play traditional powerhouse.


There were less than 300 spectators for the World Cup game between the Netherlands and Namibia. The game is no longer reliant on the fan’s attendance, but it still is an important metric that tells you about the thrill and excitement behind any clash. Admittedly, some fixture commands more attention than other. But this existing format of the tournament is exacerbating the issues. The pooling of the fixtures gives an explicit message to the fans, that the real World Cup starts not when Namibia beat Sri
Lanka, or Scotland stun West Indies, but when New Zealand takes on the host Australia and India play their arch-rivals on Pakistan.

For some nations, the World Cup has already begun. For others, it begins a week later. The first week is the prologue; the second is when the real story unfolds. Needlessly, there’s a clear demarcation. If Namibia has qualified for the T20I World Cup, why can’t they directly play India or England? It makes zero sense to add an extra obstacle in their way. Only yesterday they caused the biggest upset of the tournament by beating Sri Lanka. A day later, another upset ensued when Scotland defeated West Indies.


By not letting the associate nations play regularly against the top-ranked side, the International Cricket Council is self-harming its own cause. The more they play against these top teams, the faster will be their learning trajectory. Moreover, the fickleness of the shortest format gives these teams greater chances to upstage the elites. So there won’t be a series of dead rubbers which can make any tournament boring. The disparity in the quality of the contest will be minimal in T20s.

“2 previous @T20WorldCup champions playing in the qualifying rounds & both lose to associates @CricketScotland & @CricketNamibia1! It seems the skill gaps are narrowing despite the widening of the gaps for fair opportunity & funding! Time to split the pie a bit more?,” wrote Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer.

On one hand cricket claim to be on an expansion drive. On the other, the stakeholders take decisions that surely don’t champion the cause of the fledgling nations. The board is stuck midway between competing interests, of promoting the game or pampering the elites. When the choice is between “market” and anything else, the game will meekly follow the first route, even if it is detrimental in the wrong run.

Lead Image: T20 World Cup 2022/Twitter

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