The first three editions of the ICC World T20 were all played within a span of twenty months. The gap between the most recently concluded World T20 (played in March-April 2016) and its next edition would be at least 54 months.
These 54 months have witnessed a Champions Trophy, a World Cup, the beginning of a World Test Championship and a global pandemic, which would hopefully end before the next T20 World Cup begins.
By the time the 2016 World T20 edition was scheduled, it looked like ICC had sorted a two-year interval between tournaments. But the scrapping of the 2018 edition would have shattered the hopes of many T20 specialists. The 2020 edition, which was scheduled for October this year has been deferred by a full year.
Does this make T20 leagues less relevant? Certainly not. But does this dilute the relevance of T20s in international cricket? Well, maybe.
The World Test Championship has certainly provided context and a more competitive edge to Test cricket. The ODI League has also made bilateral one-day tournaments more relevant. But was ICC's tournament format between 2009 and 2016 really that bad?
While the ICC Champions Trophy - which has been scrapped for now - used to be played every two years between 1998 and 2006, the World T20 made the former tournament less frequent. Between 2009 and 2016, ICC would have one 50-over tournament every odd year and one World T20 every even year.
With one ICC tournament every year, cricket was more exciting as multilateral tournaments otherwise have been virtually non-existent in the past decade. But ICC's move to scrap the 2018 edition meant that there wasn't any ICC tournament that year. Thankfully enough, the 50-over World Cup is the only tournament ICC hasn't played around with in terms of scheduling for over 20 years now.
The good news is that we will have one ICC tournament every year for the next three years. With the World Test Championship added to the mix, every format specialist would have some global tournament to look forward to - which wasn't the case for Test players previously.
But why not fix the interval between World T20 tournaments? Has ICC already decided how the tournament would be spaced out after the 2022 edition? Or would its future always be decided by the IPL window and as per BCCI's convenience?
Adding value to ICC World T20
A World T20 tournament every alternate year balances the interval. While not being a yearly affair would make it more premier, a two-year interval would be a great incentive for players who specialize in cricket's shortest format.
With very few multi-nation T20 international tournaments, the World T20 is the only international tournament that provides the thrills players experience in domestic franchise leagues. But there is a large audience that still prefers international T20 cricket over league cricket.
Players are also remembered for their performance on the international stage compared to domestic cricket. Yes, players are appreciated either for a long stint with a particular franchise or winning contributions. And many players have got a fresh lease of life with franchise cricket.
But players themselves want to represent their country on an international stage. The World T20 is the perfect stage for T20 specialists for their talent to be showcased and recognized even by the purists. A World T20 medal is a great recognition of a player's credibility and contribution at the international level.
It is not just like that that Darren Sammy had a stadium named after him, mainly for winning the Windies two World T20 tournaments.Published 10 Aug 2020, 23:46 IST