Cricket Australia are all set to talk to the ICC over global events for the next international cycle. Their first Boxing Day Test with New Zealand in 32 years will be one of the reasons as well. Financial issues among the majority of Full Member countries have caused them to increase dependence upon various events of ICC.
This, however, pushed Manu Sawhney, the global body’s new chief executive to ask for an extra event in the next cycle of a men’s tournament – either a Twenty20 World Cup, 50-over World Cup or shorter, Champions Trophy style 50-over competition etc. – every year.
New Zealand’s presence on Boxing Day will be an example of shifting ICC distributions which have caused the boards to return financial losses of NZD 1.3 million (USD 846,000 approx) for 2018-19 after deficits of $3.5 million in 2018 and $9.3 million in 2017 as well. However, CA, the BCCI and the ECB, the three richest cricket boards, have shared their hesitance about playing an extra event in the next cycle.
“We’ve got Manu Sawhney, the ICC CEO, coming out in a couple of weeks to work through it,” Earl Eddings said to ESPNcricinfo. “We’ve got a responsibility as one of the leading countries to make the ICC strong and the countries who are part of the ICC. But we’ve also got to balance that with our own requirements around bilateral cricket. One of the challenges we have is Australia relies more on bilateral cricket than the ICC, where for a lot of countries it is the other way round. So just trying to find the balance.”
“You’ve got more T20 competitions spreading around the world, you’ve got the burgeoning IPL and you’ve got our bilateral cricket. More importantly, what does that mean to the players and from a player welfare perspective. So you’ve got all these challenges to try to work through,” he added.
However, he said that there is a solution and they will keep talking to the ICC and other countries to find a way. They will also look after the way to maximise the opportunities for the ICC event alongside the needs of bilateral series and Test cricket.
“We’re working through it with the ICC at the moment, that’s why Manu’s coming down, let’s sit down and work out what the options are, put some of the minutiae around it, so people can make a more informed decision. The ICC in concept approved it, subject to making sure it doesn’t impact on bilateral cricket, where you play, how you play it, how you bid for it,” he expressed.
Eddings was in charge of a relational and trust-building platform since becoming the chairman of Cricket Australia in 2018. He is well aware of the problems affecting other boards. Hence, he has proposed that the ICC and member countries should adopt a four-year financial cycle to ease the year-on-year financial distributions which will reduce cash flow issues.problem.
“During the last cycle of ICC events, there was last year (2018) when they didn’t have an event, and that had massive implications for distributions back to all of the countries,” he explained. “Where that isn’t a problem for Australia, it is for others. So we’re trying to make sure you’ve got that cycle with an event every year so there’s consistency of revenue. But the challenge we have is the number of days – compared to the previous cycle when they did have an event every year, the events themselves didn’t run that long, but now the events have got bigger.”
However, there is no additional details available around the proposed extra tournament yet. The talks with Sawhney are going on based on the aim at working towards a solution.
“Most of the Test playing countries play in the same season, which makes it more challenging. You’ve got a lot more time in the northern summer, so a whole range of factors need to be considered. A lot of water’s going to go under the bridge before we get that far,” Eddings concluded.