The International Cricket Council has confirmed that next month’s Champions Trophy has been postponed until October 2009. With South Africa pulling out and pretty much every other team set to follow suit, it’s no surprise that the competition has been cancelled but the question that now remains is whether the competition has a place in the international cricket calendar.
I’ve yet to understand the need for another 50 over ODI trophy. We have the World Cup every four years. Isn’t that enough? What is the ICC Champions Trophy if not a watered down version of the World Cup? What is the difference apart from fewer teams are invited to take part?
Alec Stewart suggested on TMS the other day that the Champions Trophy should be held every four years rather than its current bi-annual status. He cited the football European Championship as being a competition that fills the four year void between World Cups but the key difference here is the teams taking part. The major teams taking part in the football World Cup and European Championships are different. This is not the case with the cricket World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy.
As far as I can see, the ICC Champions Trophy is nothing other than another opportunity for the bigwigs in Dubai to milk yet more money out of cricket fans, TV companies and corporate sponsors.
Patrick Kidd over at Line and Length posted the other week about this ridiculous new Champions League Twenty20 that is being shoehorned into the 8 day gap between the ODI’s and Test series between England and India. As I said in the comments, how long will it be before the idiots at the ICC kill the goose that lay the golden egg?
I’m a bit of a traditionalist and prefer Test match cricket but, whether I like it or not, Twenty20 cricket has introduced a whole new audience to the game which can only be good for the long term. However, in typical fashion, the ICC have decided to try to fit in as many Twenty20 games into the calendar to secure more lucrative sponsorship deals.
According to the ICC Mission Statement, one of their key roles is to optimise ‘its commercial rights and properties for the benefit of its Members’. Gotcha. So these tournaments are not for the benefit of the fans of the game, then.
If the ICC had a genuine interest in the game, the players and the fans they would scrap the Champions Trophy, scrap the current bi-annual World Twenty20 tournament and run a Twenty20 World Cup every four years. I’d rather see a tournament that actually meant something to the players than watch the ICC Cash Cow Cup.