ICC holds talks over new WT20s, BCCI considers ‘mini IPL’

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is reportedly holding talks with its global broadcast partner, pan-Asian pay-television broadcaster Star Sports, over the potential staging of extra editions of its World Twenty20 national team tournament, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is said to be considering launching a smaller version of its Indian Premier League (IPL) overseas.

The World T20 is currently played on a quadrennial basis, but the ICC is said to be considering adopting a new structure, under which the tournament would be played every two years.

The ESPN Cricinfo website said ICC members are firmly behind the idea to restore the WT20 to every two years, leaving the main question mark concerning whether Star Sports agrees to buy rights to two extra tournaments – in 2018 and 2022 – in addition to the 2020 event already agreed during the current rights cycle.

The ICC is said to be confident of brokering an agreement with Star Sports due to the success of this year’s World T20 in India. Any new tournaments would be subject to a vote at the ICC Annual Conference in June.
South Africa has been mooted as a potential host for the 2018 event, although Cricket South Africa (CSA) is currently banned from bidding for world events after failing to meet transformation guidelines.

CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat told ESPN Cricinfo that South Africa would be interested in the 2018 event. He said: “Of course we would be delighted to host any major ICC event. We have proven in the past what a perfect destination South Africa is.”

Reports suggest that the 2018 and 2022 events would most likely take place in September and early October, during a three-week window that was previously reserved for the T20 Champions League. This would help ease any fears over clashes with the IPL.

However, the ICC could face issues with these dates after the BCCI was linked with plans to stage its own event at the same time. According to a source cited by the Times of India newspaper, the national governing body is considering introducing a smaller version of its IPL competition in another country.

The BCCI is said to have identified a September timeslot for the proposed tournament back in 2014, when it dropped its struggling T20 Champions League competition that it had been running with its counterpart governing bodies in Australia and South Africa. The mooted event, which would feature all existing IPL franchises, reportedly came close to fruition last year, but the BCCI opted to postpone the idea due to various internal issues and legal battles.

However, the unnamed source told the Times of India that the BCCI is now keen to push ahead with the project and has already begun to identify potential host nations. The source said: “It can be a great testing ground for what is possible in terms of reaching out to the Indian fan base abroad. It can be made financially viable if a market like the US is explored. Frankly, if the broadcaster finds it appealing then a lot of things fall into place.”