International Cricket Council (ICC) announced a major One Day International league today named as World Cup Super League which will kick off with the defending champions England taking on their neighbors Ireland in a 3 match series starting from July 30th on Rose Bowl.
Introduced with the intention of bringing more relevance to ODI cricket, the league will be used as a qualification system for World Cup 2023 which is scheduled to be played in India. The league will have 13 Teams where 12 Teams will be full members while the one remaining team will be Netherlands.
As per the league format, each team will play a total of 8 series on an equal home and away basis and the teams will mutually decide whom to play and whom not to play.
“The league will bring relevance and context to ODI cricket over the next three years, as qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 is at stake,” Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager for cricket operations, said while announcing the league.
Simplification of the league
- Each Team to play minimum of 8 series between any time they can start cricket in their countries and World Cup 2023. 4 out of those 8 series will be played at home while 4 will be played away from home. They can play more than 8 series depending on the time available but only the first 8 series will be counted.
- India will qualify to World Cup 2023 as hosts, no matter what happens.
- The top 7 teams in the points table will automatically qualify to the World Cup 2023 but here is a catch. If those top 7 teams involve India then India wouldn’t be counted and the other 7 teams will qualify. Without undervaluing cricket’s glorious uncertainties, this looks highly realistic and hence we can assume that 8 Teams will qualify to the WC straight away leaving 2 more places for others to fill through other leagues.
- The bottom 5 teams will move to ICC World Cup qualifiers to be played in 2022. However, if India finishes in bottom 5, they’d still qualify to World Cup 2023 and in that case, the team finishing at 8 will replace India in the world cup qualifiers.
- The series can be longer than 3 matches but only the result of first 3 matches will be taken into consideration.
- 10 points will be awarded for a series win and if the series gets ended at 1-1 with a match tied or washed out, both teams will get 5 points apiece. If the overall points are equal after 8 series, net run rate will act like a traditional tie breaker.
Since it’s upto the boards to decide which teams they will play and which they won’t, here is a list where every board has decided to avoid these oppositions in the World Cup Super League cycle.
As per the schedule, India were scheduled to finish their 8 series by March 2022 but due to the pandemic, their first two series against Sri Lanka and Zimbawe (both away) have been postponed with no clarity over resumption of cricket in India and many of the other countries. Here is their schedule which was finalized prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Sri Lanka vs India : June 2020 (Postponed)
- Zimbawe vs India : August 2020 (Postponed)
- India vs England : September 2020
- Australia vs India : November 2020 ( Scheduled in January 2021 now)
- India vs Afghanistan : February 2021
- India vs South Africa : October 2021
- India vs West Indies : January 2022
- New Zealand vs India : March 2022
- ICC in its statement said that the league will bring will relevance and context to the ODI cricket for the next 3 years while the bottom line is people already know which 8 or 9 teams will qualify to the world cup. With top 8 teams already expected to make the cut, there is not a lot of competition for the spots among the higher ranked teams. They will be there in the World Cup and remaining two spots will be decided by World Cup qualifier so giving ODI cricket some context by this tournament looks a paradoxical statement here.
- Also, it makes very little sense for India to play this tournament since their participation in World Cup 2023 is already guaranteed as hosts.
- With the respective boards being in charge of choosing their oppositions, a team can easily avoid 4 strong opponents and earn more points by winning against lesser ranked team. This could mean they will rank higher in the points table and it will depend less upon the quality of cricket they play and more upon the decision making of the boards.
On a positive side, the league will give more exposure to the lower ranked to play quality cricket against higher ranked teams which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.