2023 World Cup: While the Indian Premier League has recently been concluded with Mumbai Indians taking the victory, cricket enthusiasts still have reason to be excited as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, the 12th edition of the Cricket World Cup is starting on 30th of May. The World Cup this year is in England, and India has already announced the players who will be representing India this year. The team will be led by skipper Virat Kohli and will include Rohit Sharma, Shikar Dhawan, MS Dhoni, Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Yuzvendra Chahal. With such a well-rounded squad there is hope for India to perform well at the World Cup this year.
While many are waiting for the World Cup this year, even more, are excited about the 2023 World Cup, that is the World Cup after this one, one of the main reasons being that it is India’s turn to host the World Cup again. The 13th edition of the World Cup shall be hosted by India, making it the fourth time India is hosting the World Cup, after the World Cups of 1987, 1996 and 2011. The difference is this time the World Cup is fully hosted by India! The other three were partially hosted by India, with the 1987 World Cup being jointly hosted by India and Pakistan, the 1996 World Cup being jointly hosted by India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and the 2011 World Cup being jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
For the first time, India gets to host the World Cup all by itself. There is a lot of expectations for the upcoming 2023 World Cup by Indian cricket fans. While the previous skipper of the Indian cricket team who led us to our second World Cup victory in 2011, MS Dhoni will probably not be playing in the 2023 World Cup, we can expect our current hotshot captain, Virat Kohli will probably still be leading the team. We can also estimate that the 2020 Indian Premier League, the 2021 Indian Premier League, and the 2022 Indian Premier League will take place before the 2023 World Cup, which basically means three chances for all Indian players to show off their skills on Indian pitch and qualify and train for playing in the World Cup.
The tournament is set to take place from 9th February to 26th March 2023. The 2023 Indian Premier League will most probably be after the World Cup on that year. The tournament will be in a round-robin format with ten teams participating. The main route of qualification will be the World Cup Super League tournament, a series of ODIs which will take place between 2020 and 2022. The top seven teams among the thirteen participating teams in the World Cup Super League tournament will be qualified to participate in the 2023 World Cup.
India as the host gets to participate by default irrespective of their placing in the World Cup Super League tournament. The remaining five teams among the thirteen participating teams in the league will have to play in the 2022 Cricket World Cup Qualifier along with an undecided number of countries who were not part of the league. Only two teams from the 2022 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers can go through to the 2023 Cricket World Cup Tournament.
Disputes between BCCI and ICC: India almost lost the rights to hold the 2023 World Cup
India was selected to host the 13th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup at an International Cricket Council meeting in London in June 2013. It is one of the two upcoming international cricket events in India, alongside the 2021 Champions Trophy. While the fact that the host would be India was decided back in 2013, two disputes between the International Cricket Council ( ICC ) and The Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI ) almost made this moot. The two issues were, (i) Pakistani cricket players visa issue, (ii) The taxation levied by the Indian government during the 2016 World T20 Cup, (iii) Tensions between BCCI and ICC over BCCI’s demand to suspend India versus Pakistan match.
1. Pakistani Cricket Players Visa Issue
In wake of the Pulwama terror attack in February 14th this year, tensions between India and Pakistan rose to an all-time high. The Indian government took preventative measures against Pakistan, including barring cross border trades. A proposal to prevent Pakistani players of all sports from entering India was brought forward by some political leaders. Two Pakistani sportspersons were denied visas when they came to India to participate in the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup hosted in India recently. If India really enforced this procedure of denying visas to Pakistani players, then Pakistani team cannot attend the 2023 World Cup or 2021 Champions trophy.
Pakistani Cricket Board chairman, Ehsan Mani wanted a guarantee of visas to Pakistani players who will come for the two international cricket events, saying Pakistani cricket players should have the chance to play in upcoming events which are hosted in India. If this procedure is enforced, India could lose the rights to host both the upcoming international events they are supposed to host, on grounds of not being a good host. The decision by both ICC and BCCI is not yet announced. We can expect an answer regarding this in 2020 since this kind of issue is usually decided in a meeting one year before the event.
2. The Taxation Levied by the Indian Government during the 2016 World T20 Cup
The 2016 T20 World Cup was hosted by India. Star TV was the official broadcast rights holder for this event. Star TV paid $226 million to ICC after paying a tax of $23 million to the government. The ICC protested against this action, saying that all funds acquired by the ICC go towards the betterment of the sport and welfare of less financially capable sportspersons, like those from West Indies, they deserved to be able to conduct events tax-free. The BCCI was adamant in its stance towards this matter, saying in no meeting or signed agreement have they agreed to let the vent be conducted tax-free and said that the host is obliged to pay a tax to the country. ICC threatened the BCCI saying that the qualifications of hosting the World Cup in 2023 and Champions trophy in 2021 stood to be canceled if $23 million was not paid as compensation for the unwarranted tax deductions.
This demand was raised in the ICC board meeting in Singapore last October. The BCCI said that they are not responsible for the issue of tax deductions, as they did not guarantee a tax-free event. They also pointed out that changing the host for international events like the Champions Trophy and the World Cup would be detrimental to world cricket, and Indian cricket in particular. The exemption was in any case not the responsibility of the BCCI, it is between ICC and Star TV, a source from the BCCI said. ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said the conflict would be resolved in time, and that it is premature to assume that the 2021 Champions Trophy or 2023 World Cup will not be hosted by India.
3. Tensions between BCCI and ICC over BCCI’s Demand to Suspend India Versus Pakistan Match
Again, due to the tensions due to the Pulwama terror attack, the BCCI tried to get the match scheduled between India and Pakistan scheduled on the 16th of June this year suspended. India and Pakistan were supposed to face off during the 22nd match of the round-robin tournament. The BCCI wanted this match suspended and do not have the Pakistan cricket team and Indian cricket team face off against each other at least till the knockout rounds. The BCCI is qualified to make demands to the ICC of this sort because of the large number of people who are cricket fanatics in India, generating revenue and popularity for the sport. If the ICC really adjusted the match format and schedule according to the wishes of BCCI, it would serve as a huge embarrassment to Pakistan.
After some consideration, the ICC said that the matches would take place as usual, and the 22nd match of the round-robin tournament scheduled to be held on 16th of June this year will still be India versus Pakistan. No changes of any sort will be made to accommodate the demands of BCCI. If Indian cricket team fails to attend the match on the scheduled date the match will be considered forfeited and the Pakistani team shall be considered the victor and be awarded the points for that match. While the BCCI has yet to give any statement regarding this, we can expect that tensions among BCCI and ICC have grown.
While India’s qualifications to host the 2023 World Cup will probably not be revoked due to the above-mentioned issues, there is still a possibility that the power struggle between ICC and BCCI may affect the 2023 Cricket World Cup. Currently, at least, it seems highly unlikely that the 2023 Cricket World Cup will be hosted elsewhere. Cricket fans all across India are still waiting for the time they can see World Cup matches live again.