T20 World Cup 2024: For once, spare the BCCI and hold the ICC accountable

This World Cup - the scheduling, the logistics and so on - was entirely under the gambit of the parent body, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India had nothing to do with it, save exist.
Last Updated : 28 June 2024, 21:32 IST

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Barbados: There’s a reason why this World Cup looks like it was designed for India. It’s because the International Cricket Council designed it so.

This World Cup - the scheduling, the logistics and so on - was entirely under the gambit of the parent body, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India had nothing to do with it, save exist. 

The BCCI gets close to 40 per cent of the revenue generated by the ICC, and frankly, they don’t need that money as desperately as some of the other teams in cricket at the moment. 

ICC, on the other hand, desperately wanted to continue to capitalise on the Indian market while still travelling to the far reaches of the world. Hence, America and West Indies with India’s games all being played at 10.30 am local time, shown at 8.00 pm India time. 

If anything, that is unfair to the locals in these countries, eager to catch some cricket at a reasonable time, but again, this was not BCCI’s decision. 

Moreover, the other cricket boards have to sign off on this treaty so to say BCCI arm-twisted them all would be rather naive. It’s more likely that ICC convinced all of them and the BCCI went along with it too.  

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan (who else?) alleged in a podcast India get to play wherever they want! Seriously? If so, they would have preferred to be in the Caribbean all along instead of playing all their group-stage matches in the USA.            

Objectively speaking, the Indian team has had a more complicated journey this World Cup. 

Unlike some of the bigger teams like Australia and England, who have stayed put in the Caribbean, Rohit Sharma and Co's schedule had them dodging bullets at the Nassau County International stadium in New York (Long Island really), ducking for cover at the Central Broward Park and Broward County stadium, and then to the islands where they have played in Barbados, Antigua, St Lucia, Guyana and now back to Barbados for the final. 

There’s also the other matter that the ICC didn’t have a reserve day for the second semifinal. It seems like an insignificant fact because had the game been washed out, the team which finished on top of the Group table would go through to the final. 

It happened to be India in this case, but that was because of their dominance in Group A, not because they forced their way into it. 

The same goes for the orchestrating of the semifinals. India knew they were going to play their semifinals in Guyana, but they had to have done well enough in the first three matches to get there, and they had the stiffest of tests on those pitches in New York so anything could have happened. Ask Pakistan who were stunned by the USA. 

Moreover, this concept of fixed venues for qualifying teams has been around for ages now, typically fixed to ensure maximum engagement from the crowd. 

Vaughan also felt the whole tournament was set-up for India. He has, believe it or not, issues with India playing their games in the day. Frankly, when India play their games under lights everywhere, including at home, why on earth would they prefer to play day games elsewhere? Skipper Rohit Sharma, at the start of the event, even pointed out that playing a T20 game in the day would be one of the challenges for his team.

Guyana has one of the biggest populations of Indians in the Caribbean (you can thank the indentured servitude of the mid-1800s for that) so the ICC wanted to make the most of that, and it was naturally going to be played at 10.30 am to suit TV audience in India, not their team. 

The same with the final against South Africa in Barbados. It won’t have the magic of the night sky, nor the eye-popping fireworks which go off at the end. We will have to settle for the Bajans doing their best to keep the spirits up in the blistering heat of the mid-day sun. 

You can thank the ICC for that and more.

Published 28 June 2024, 21:32 IST

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