MELBOURNE-Organisers expect this year’s Twenty20 World Cup to be a success even if it has to vie with Australian rules football and rugby league for viewers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of the organising committee said on Sunday.
The Oct. 18-Nov. 15 tournament was slotted into Australia’s sports calendar between the end of the football season and the beginning of summer cricket to draw maximum attention. With both the Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (AFL) seasons suspended due to the pandemic, they may now clash with the Twenty20 World Cup when they resume.
“In the event they have extended seasons…we still think the World Cup is a really strong proposition that might not come here again for 10 or 20 years,” Nick Hockley, CEO of the organising committee, told Australian Associated Press (AAP). “People love a World Cup. Cricket is Australia’s national sport … and T20 is the format that appeals to the broadest possible demographic,” he said. “We’re very encouraged already by the take up in terms of ticket sales.”
The women’s tournament proved a big success, with hosts Australia beating India in the March 8 final to defend their title. The organisers expect the men’s tournament to replicate that success despite uncertainty around it. The governing International Cricket Council (ICC) has maintained there is no change in its plans, and Hockley hoped they would not require any either.
“We’re wanting to give ourselves the best possible chance of going ahead as planned, so there’s no imminent or quick decision,” he said. “Hopefully it’s all resolved and we go ahead. In the event that it isn’t completely resolved, we are looking at all the different scenarios. Which is only prudent,” he added.