LONDON: AT a briefing following the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) SGM in Ahmedabad during the final leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) last month, the board had gone on record to say that the World Cup itinerary would be unveiled around the World Test Championship final in London.
“(The) press conference will happen and it will happen in London around the World Test Championship final,” board secretary, Jay Shah, had said then. “The complete schedule for the tournament will also be revealed.”
That may not come to fruition. At lunch on Day One of the final, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Geoff Allardyce, did not set a timeframe towards announcing the schedule. In fact, Allardyce, who was speaking to BBC’s Test Match Special, had revealed that the ICC were yet to get the final schedule of the event from the hosts (India, in this case). “Even today (Wednesday), we might be receiving the schedule from the hosts,” he had said when asked about the delay in announcing the schedule for ICC’s blue riband event.
Interestingly, Australia and New Zealand (the countries that hosted the event in 2015), revealed the schedule as early as July 2013. The dates for the last World Cup in the UK were announced in April 2018. Usually, dates for the global events are announced well in advance to give fans an opportunity to plan their travel and accommodation properly apart from giving teams an idea of who they face when. When pressed on the subject, Allardyce said: “We very much work hand in hand with the hosts. In some places, there is a lot of consultation that needs to take place both within the cricket system and with governments etc. They (host) have to go through the right checks and balances.”
When asked if the delay was related to Pakistan, Allardyce was measured. “Until I see the schedule... I’m waiting... hoping... we get something in the next day or two. I think our events team is very experienced in putting on cricket events in all countries. You control what you can control and that’s the approach our team is taking.”
After the ICC gets the schedule from the hosts, they themselves have to do a bit of housekeeping. “We have got a bit of consultation to do with all the participating teams and the broadcasters,” he continued on the subject. “We will be publishing that as soon as we can.”
On the issue of Pakistan and India itself, Allardyce said: “I don’t think we can fully comprehend the magnitude of the issues between the two countries. In a cricketing sense, the Asia Cup isn’t an issue that the ICC is involved in. When we get to World Cups, India and Pakistan have obviously come together and played each other. They (India) are going to put on a 10-team tournament and with Pakistan, we have an agreement with them about participation in ICC events. There is always speculation and conjecture and hyperbole around the issues... we are expecting cricket to win out again.”