Here, The Pavilion proposes a radical change to the International T20 schedule. International T20s should be scrapped all together, except for a quadrennial World Cup that involves Test and Associate member nations, with a qualifying process for teams below the Associates.
We also propose that every international T20 league should be scrapped, and one, new, World T20 League introduced. This would take place much like the International Rugby 7s circuit, whereby the same teams compete in a number of rounds over the course of the year in different countries. The World T20 League would be scheduled around other international cricket and domestic competitions.
For the sake of this article, we will use franchise names of IPL and BBL teams. The eight franchise names will stay the same, but the city in which they are based will change with each round based on the country that the round is based in.
- Daredevils: Punjab, Sydney, Nottingham, Potchefstroom, Rajshahi, Antigua
- Heat: Hyderabad, Brisbane, London, Port Elizabeth, Khulna, St. Lucia
- Knight Riders: Kolkata, Hobart, Cardiff, Johannesburg, Sylhet, St. Kitts & Nevis
- Renegades: Pune, Melbourne, Leeds, Centurion, Rangpur, Trinbago
- Royal Challengers: Bangalore, Adelaide, Dublin, East London, Comilla, Leeward Islands
- Royals (Associate team): Rajasthan, Port Moresby, Edinburgh, Harare, Kathmandu, Fort Lauderdale
- Sixers: Mumbai, Sydney, Manchester, Durban, Chittagong, Guyana
- Super Kings: Chennai, Perth, Birmingham, Cape Town, Barisal, Barbados
Every franchise will consist of a large of players, and when the round is in, say, England, then each franchise will need a minimum of five or six English players and one associate player. The minimum number of domestic players needed in a starting XI is to ensure that each nation remains competitive in T20s for when the quadrennial World Cup comes around.
So, here is an example starting XI for the would be ‘London Heat’.
- Colin Ingram (SA)
- KL Rahul (Ind)
- Shane Watson (Aus)
- Sam Northeast
- Joe Clarke
- Ravi Bopara
- Ben Foakes (wk)
- Sam Curran
- Andrew Tye (Aus)
- Ravi Ashwin (Ind)
- Sandeep Lamichhane (Nep, Assoc.)
Here we have five home grown English players, five overseas, and an Associate player. This is clearly an example team we have mocked up, and is bit batsman heavy. Each player would be contracted to each franchise for the year. So in this XI, Sam Northeast is contracted to the ‘Heat’ franchise for the year, and would be available to play for them in every round. Northeast, however, may only be needed for the English round, whereas Aaron Finch would likely be used for every round.
For those who argue that this isn’t financially sustainable, the contracted players would only get paid for the rounds in which they are selected. So if Northeast only plays the English round, then he would only be paid for that round. If Finch plays all six rounds, then he would be paid six times.
We propose that the competition would have six rounds in: Australia, India, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, and South Africa. So to have five domestic players in each starting XI, and a few squad members each franchise therefore would have around 50 contracted players from the 6 hosting nations. Add on some Associate players and players from non-hosting nations, and you come to having around 58-63 players in a squad.
But what about Associate cricketers? One of the franchises would be a designated Associate dominated team, with no restrictions on domestic players, for example, the Edinburgh Royals would participate in the English round of the competition. This would be to ensure that Associate members and players are not forgotten, and that Associate nations remain competitive when the quadrennial T20 World Cup comes around. This would work much like the West Indian team in the Canadian T20 League.
We propose this schedule:
- February (Australia)
- April (India)
- June (England)
- August (West Indies)
- October (Bangladesh)
- December (South Africa, finals)
The format of each round would be an eight team league, where each franchise plays seven league games, and then get split up into a Cup and Plate. The top four teams qualify for the Cup, and the bottom four for the Plate. The rounds would last no longer than three weeks. 18, probably less, weeks would be lost to the international schedule to the World T20 League a year, and because there would be no International T20 cricket, countries would only need to schedule for Tests and ODIs. To accommodate for the ODI World Cup, some rounds could be shortened or removed to allow for warm-up games and preparation etc.
The sixth round, in South Africa, would be the final round in which the top four teams over the course of the year feature. This would be a four team league, in which each franchise play the others twice, and at the end of the league, the top two teams play in a World T20 final.
This format of competition would allow for the revenue generated from international T20 leagues to be shared around, and make them all a level playing field that does not interfere with international cricket. This means that players would not need to choose between the IPL and representing their nation in Tests.
For countries who we haven’t considered for hosting a round, it is nothing personal, and a bidding process or rotational cycle could be implemented so that countries that we left out don’t miss out on hosting the worlds best T20 cricket and the lucrative rewards that hosting T20 leagues brings.
If in 10-years, say there are four or five more Test playing nations, then the World T20 League could be expanded into two divisions, with a promotion and relegation system at the end of each year. For the countries who would be considered Associate when the current Associate nations reach Test cricket, they would have their own Associate dominated franchise.
Every 4 years when the T20 World Cup arrives, the World T20 League could be shortened by a few rounds, only take place for three consecutive years, allowing for countries to prepare adequately for the World Cup, seeing that they haven’t played or trained together in T20s for three years.
It’s fun, it’s fair, and its inclusive instead of exclusive. And it will never, ever happen.
Let us know what you think! Leave a comment below.