The ICC might not take many big decisions in the contingency meeting that will take place on Friday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The coronavirus pandemic has shut down all sports with cricket being totally locked down. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the series that has been affected are England vs Sri Lanka, Pakistan vs Bangladesh, India vs South Africa as well as Australia vs New Zealand. The England vs Sri Lanka series was part of the ICC World Test Championships and this postponment has thrown the entire Future Tours Program (FTP) out of gear. With the United Kingdom facing a massive lockdown for close to six months and with Australia imposing an indefinite travel ban due to the coronavirus, the prospects of a resumption of cricket in the near future look pretty bleak.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has arranged a meeting via video-conferencing to discuss the contingency plans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has affected cricket. Prior to the meeting, in a report on PTI, it was said that no concrete decisions will emerge from the meeting. But with the situation worsening, there will be a contingency plan that will be proposed with regards to the Men's World T20 that will be played in October-November in Australia while the bilateral series that has been affected by the coronavirus will also be up for discussion.
The major point though could be the allocation of the points for the ICC World Test Championship series that has been postponed and fitting them into the calendar could become difficult. One ICC member nation told PTI, "Right now, the situation is such that no decision can be taken as no one knows when normalcy returns. Obviously the members will give a lowdown of the situation in their respective countries. But we need to be ready with plans if this lockdown continues for two more months. The complete FTP will be topsy turvy. The England versus Sri Lanka series got postponed but where will it be slotted considering the FTP calendar is choc-a-bloc. It's not one series that will be affected but a few more which are lined up. So like what could be the ideal points distribution system. Whether giving 60 points each to both teams will be fair deal is something that members need to discuss."
With the United Kingdom potentially entering a six-month lockdown period with the coronavirus already infecting close to 12,000 people and with over 550 killed, the series between England and West Indies as well as against Pakistan are in doubt. Australia's travel ban might be lifted once the threat of coronavirus subsides but if the lockdown of the sport continues for another three to four months, there will be a lot of backlogging which could throw cricket scheduling out of gear. The indefinite stoppage of action could also have an effect on ICC as well as the member nations' revenue stream, something which can't be exactly gauged at the moment.
England face an uncertain period of cricket with the country braced for a massive lockdown. (Image credit: Getty Images)
"That is an extreme situation which we are not even thinking at the moment. But it is a crisis situation and no harm if options are discussed," another board member said. The ICC has not considered a worst-case scenario as the World T20 is in October but if the lockdown of cricket becomes a bit too long, then there is a possibility that the World T20 could be pushed to 2021 while the 2021 edition in India could be postponed to 2022.
According to an ESPNCricinfo report, the ICC will have to sit down with Cricket Australia and BCCI, the hosting boards for the next two T20 World Cups and carve out an alternate window which then would need to be synced with the larger Future Tours Programme (FTP) if they have to postpone the events to 2022. With bilateral series starting to pile up in the wake of the postponement, the logistics of working out the remainder of the series in the World Test Championships will have to be dealt with earnestly by the ICC.