What postponed T20 World Cup means for home cricket schedule
Australia's ultimate summer of cricket moved a step closer to becoming a reality overnight when this year's T20 World Cup was finally postponed.
The ICC confirmed world sport's worst kept secret shortly after midnight when it announced a reshuffle of cricket's upcoming showpiece events.
World Cups will now be staged in October-November of 2021 (T20), 2022 (T20) and 2023 (ODI) as cricket looks to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hosting the 2021 edition would deliver a bumper summer of Aussie cricket with a T20 World Cup to roll into a home Ashes series.
It was unclear whether Australia would receive the 2021 or 2022 event. India will host the 2023 ODI tournament and almost certainly the other T20 World Cup.
"The decision to postpone the ICC Men's T20 World Cup was taken after careful consideration of all of the options available to us and gives us the best possible opportunity of delivering two safe and successful T20 World Cups for fans around the world," ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said.
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"Our members now have the clarity they need around event windows to enable them to reschedule lost bilateral and domestic cricket.
"Moving the (ODI) World Cup to a later window is a critical element of this and gives us a better chance of maintaining the integrity of the qualification process. This additional time will be used to reschedule games that might be lost because of the pandemic ensuring qualification can be decided on the field of play."
There are several bilateral series which need to be slotted back into world cricket's cluttered schedule, including Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh and a white-ball series against New Zealand.
News Corp reported in April that the T20 World Cup was set to fall victim to coronavirus with the BCCI eyeing that window to stage the IPL.
Australia will travel to England for a white-ball series in September before some of its stars share a private jet with Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer to Dubai for the IPL.
The ICC would've effectively needed approval from 17 federal governments to stage the tournament this year - from the 16 competing countries plus the ICC team, which is based in the UAE.
Broadcast staff, match officials and global media also would've needed clearance to both enter Australia and then travel domestically for the tournament.
While Cricket Australia would not have made a huge financial return from hosting the tournament, ICC events help prop-up cricketing nations around the world.
"What we're very conscious of is our responsibility on behalf of international cricket to do everything possible to stage the event," former CA boss Kevin Roberts said.
"We mightn't generate financial returns from that event that are as significant as the international cricket season, but what we do know is that the bigger returns from the broadcast rights that are generated by the ICC are very important to all of our counterparts around the cricket world."
The postponement will also help cricket and the AFL avoid a turf war in October, with T20s at Metricon Stadium (October 9), the Gabba (October 11), Adelaide Oval (October 17) all set to be removed from the fixture.
Australia's women's team still has an ODI against New Zealand scheduled at Gold Coast's home ground on October 10, although that could probably be shifted to Cairns or Townsville.
Perth Stadium boss and former CA powerbroker Mike McKenna explained recently that even with the cricket schedule clear, the AFL would still need approval to play games outside of its traditional season.
For example, CA takes control of Adelaide Oval on October 8 this year.
"Contractually, cricket has access to the venue from the beginning of October. Even if they're not playing, we still have to get their permission to stage other events," McKenna said.
But CA has repeatedly said it would work with other sports instead of standing in their way during the pandemic.
New Zealand is due to host the ICC Women's World Cup in February next year although that is also in doubt.
Originally published as What postponed T20 World Cup means for home cricket schedule