Dubai: The ICC Chief Executives Committee on Thursday unanimously agreed to revamp the Future Tour Programs (FTP) till 2023, conceding that the "scale and complexity" of getting cricket started again "cannot be underestimated" in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CEC meeting, held via tele-conference, decided that a decision on the World Test Championship (WTC) and the proposed ODI league, scheduled in June, can be taken at a later date. However, it is a given that the WTC final is unlikely to be held in June, 2021 as per the current FTP cycle and a four-month lag is expected.
But the T20 World Cup is on course even though Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts said that his board is ready for any eventuality.
"There was agreement that the disrupted FTP programme would need to be collectively reviewed through to 2023 with a view to rescheduling as much of the cricket that has been postponed due to COVID-19 as possible," the ICC said in a statement.
Already, England's tour of Sri Lanka stands postponed along with Australia's tour of New Zealand.
Pakistan and the West Indies' tours during the English summer also look to be in serious doubt. In fact, the West Indies' tour is all but postponed.
It was also learnt that contingency plans are being made for the T20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled for October and November.
"The CEC was updated on the continuing contingency planning for all ICC global events, including the ICC men's T20 World Cup 2020 and the ICC women's Cricket World Cup 2021.
"Planning for both events as currently scheduled is ongoing."
When asked about the contingency plans, a CEC member told PTI, "The complete FTP has gone for a toss. So, the remaining part of next three years will be revamped.
"Although all these Test series are part of the WTC, but bilateral series is an agreement between two countries. So, all the rescheduled series will take time.
"So, while all the league phase of WTC was set to be completed by March 2021, it is simply not possible now as there will be a few more Test series that will be disrupted.
The CEC member said that New Zealand might not travel to Bangladesh.
"So expect at least a four-month lag in WTC cycle," he said.
ICC's official line is that "discussions and decisions on this and the future of both the World Test Championship and the ICC men's cricket World Cup Super League will be held at a later date when there is a greater understanding of the impact of the cricket that has been lost on the competitions."
Chair of the ICC Medical Committee, Dr Peter Harcourt provided a general medical update to the meeting and the challenge that the governing body is facing.
"The situation is rapidly evolving and full of significant risk as there is still a lot to learn about COVID-19 which can make decision making difficult.
"The ICC Medical Committee is working with Member medical representatives to build a comprehensive picture of the issues cricket is facing," he said.
Harcourt made it clear that the roadmap for resumption will be different for different countries depending on the medical situation.
"This will consider everything from player preparation to government restrictions and advisories and bio-bubbles."
He admitted that it is indeed a complex situation caused by the pandemic which has resulted in lakhs of deaths.
"The scale and complexity of getting cricket started again cannot be underestimated particularly with respect to a global event.
"The more teams, venues and cities involved in an event, the greater the risk which has to be assessed and managed."
ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said said there were several complexities involved in being able to stage ICC global events.
"...they will be carefully considered before any decisions are arrived at in the best interests of the game," he said.
Cricket Australia Chief Executive Roberts on his part said that all "options are being explored" at the moment.
"...will take the right decisions at the right time so we can host a wonderful celebration of the sport and keep everyone involved safe and well," Roberts added in an ICC statement.
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