According to the latest reports in the media, the International Cricket Council is considering to expand the T20 World Cup from 16 to 20 teams from the 2023-31 cycle. The ICC, which views the T20 format as the best way to increase the reach of the sport, said that the expansion is their way of making cricket as popular as sports like football and basketball, according to the ‘Telegraph.co.uk’.
The publication has said that this proposal is “a part of broader discussions for the shape of international cricket calendar from 2023-2031”. The first T20 World Cup in this cycle is scheduled for 2024.
The ICC had earlier put forward a proposal to organize a flagship event which could also help in the increase of the viewership. A bigger tournament will also increase the chances of the participation of the USA, a market where ICC has is trying to spread the sport. Other teams that could take part are Canada, Germany, Nepal, and Nigeria.
The ICC is looking at two options for the format of the tournament expands to 20 teams. One, the current two-tier format used in the T20 World Cup with lower-ranked teams playing the qualifiers to reach the main draw which includes the top countries. Two, there could be four groups of five teams each with the top sides from each group progressing to the knockout stage.
Of late, the ICC has been coming out with various proposals, including shortening of five-day Test matches to four days, an idea which has been opposed by all cricketers who have been asked for their opinion on it.
“From a purist’s point of view and as an admirer of Test cricket, I don’t think it should be tinkered with. The format has to be played in the way it has been played for so many years,” said Sachin Tendulkar.