Could 2020 be the year that the International Cricket Council (ICC) makes amends? Too many controversies dogged the premier body in the previous year. From Ireland’s Test cricket shipwrecked, concussion substitutes needed for rules that defied logic in the World Cup final and in the ICC World Test Championship, the next decade may be banking on a more pragmatic review.

In the ICC’s defense, they did rewrite the Super-Over rule when it comes to the World Cup final. The only problem? It came far too late and after the New Zealand team was forced to swallow a bitter pill about the unfairness of the exercise while walking away ironically with the spirit of cricket award.

While some contended that the onus lay on the captains of the teams who had been briefed about the boundary rule in addition to the Super Over, really the buck stops with the custodians of the game and this includes the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). A little bit of pragmatism would have gone a long way to suggest that the ICC Cricket World Cup of the fifty overs format was not a knockout punch but rather a painstakingly planned innings whose only logical result would be a Super Over in the case of a Super Over tie in the event that a better alternative to decide a tied match did not exist.

With the ICC changing the rules but not the result, the change failed to have the desired effect, perhaps to do with the fact that this was a rare, unexpected once-in-a-lifetime result that should have seen England be declared joint winners alongside New Zealand. That not being the case and the debate dominating the headlines for weeks before the rule change, there was not much to say after.

Similarly the ICC World Test Championship, although a welcome addition, soon became a laboratory experiment out in the open and subject to criticism. Virat Kohli, whose team was leading the table by a fair amount of points, was vocal about the anomalies already being pointed out. While the World Test championship was providing much-needed context to the bilateral events, it was taking away certain pristine qualities about the game by not acknowledging bonus for Test series wins and for away Test wins and series. Will the ICC chose to make amends even if the process of picking the finalists for 2021 is on or will it let the anomalies run through this cycle?

The ICC is in danger of running itself out of context as powerful boards plan to block the ICC’s idea of a flagship tournament very year. Even as the associate members search for funds, context, and expansion, the ICC must fight for its own existence and relevance, not just for its own sake but also, and more importantly, for the sake of cricket ambitions laying latent elsewhere in the quieter parts of the world where the global acknowledgment is rare as in the case of Ireland. With the IPL becoming stronger in the context of pulling players away from international circuits, can the ICC have a stronger countermeasure without diluting its brand with a World every year plan?

With the newcomers continuing to struggle on the periphery and the ICC itself for relevance in the fact of the possibility of the ‘big three’ rearing its head, the challenge for the ICC is coming up with a more robust plan and develop the wherewithal to make appropriate amendments to ensure cricket is a delectable dish more palatable to be served in the next decade to a larger crowd.

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