The USA has been stripped of the rights to co-host the 2024 edition of the T20 World Cup alongside the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). Soon after learning the major development, News18 CricketNext sent ICC an email asking if the USA is still the “co-host”. The story will be updated the moment ICC responds.
An ICC release back in April 2022 confirmed the USA and West Indies’ direct qualification for the 2024 T20 World Cup as joint hosts. It was a historic moment for the USA which is still trying to establish a cricket culture in its sporting ecosystem despite being the first country to be accorded the status of an associate member of the ICC decades ago.
“The qualification pathway for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 was confirmed with 12 teams qualifying automatically for the event. The top eight teams from the 2022 event will be joined by the two host Members, West Indies and USA plus the next highest-ranked teams on the MRF ICC Men’s T20 rankings table as of 14 November 2022. If West Indies finish in the top eight in Australia later this year, three teams will progress based on rankings and if outside the top eight two teams will qualify from the rankings table,” the ICC release had stated back then.
However, long before being awarded the rights until the present day, there has been no clarity whatsoever on who exactly is running the affairs of USA Cricket.
For the longest time now, either the ICC has banned the US cricket federation in the past or has been helpless in allowing another elected body to sustain it. The ICC continues to run its affairs in the US by directly coordinating with its own employees/consultants based out of the country. So much so that even American Cricket Enterprises (ACE), the commercial arm that’s putting T20 League cricket together in the US right now deals directly only with the ICC.
CricketNext had sent the ICC a questionnaire recently but there was no official response. Sources in the ICC said: “Martin Snedden, Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Skerritt were part of a Board sub-committee charged with reviewing all 28 proposals that were submitted with ICC management before making a recommendation to the Board. As part of the process, the ICC wanted to take World Cups to new territories and well-established markets in order to help deliver on the overarching strategic aim of growing the game. All bids provided extensive detail as part of the process”.
During the same conversation, ICC sources did confirm that West Indies are now the “only” hosts for the 2024 WC.
“For jointly hosted World Cups we often contract with the Full Member (FM) as the host who is fully responsible for the delivery of the Event. The FM would then have a staging agreement with the relevant Members to ensure the successful staging of World Cup matches in other countries. In this case, Cricket West Indies have been contracted as World Cup hosts,” ICC sources informed.
Early last year, the owners of the MLC announced big plans for cricketing infrastructure in the country where eight venues were being either constructed or renovated. However, Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida is the only ICC ODI-accredited venue in the country to date and has successfully hosted some international fixtures. The remaining venues are far from ready.
Very recently, the venue hosted the last two T20Is between India and West Indies in August 2022. India had earlier also played at the venue in 2016 where they featured in two T20Is against the same opposition.
“What I can’t understand is, why is the ICC so bent on “developing” a sport in a country that is the leading first-world nation on the planet and can afford to fend for itself? On top of that, the US neither has an elected body in place nor does it have a decent First Class culture. So what’s the hurry to take the World Cup there? Why can’t the ICC put that much emphasis on developing cricket in Nepal or any of the African nations that truly follow and play the sport? One must ask the ICC to explain their “love” for America,” say sources tracking these developments.
It can now also be confirmed that Ricky Skerritt, who played a role in the USA being nominated as co-host for the 2024 T20 World Cup will now be replaced in the ICC nominations committee by Oman’s Pankaj Khimji, who also happens to be a member director of the Associate Nations in the governing body.